MLA's Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

May 25, 2012

Federal Health Care Update

CCIIO Holds 3-Day Exchange Meeting, Releases FAQs 

Exchange watchers this week focused on stories emerging from the three-day implementation forum hosted by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) in Washington, DC. With plenty to discuss after a myriad of exchange announcements last week, including guidance on the federally facilitated exchange (FFE), state partnership models and tax credits, states and stakeholders gathered to sort through a host of issues. CCIIO has a series of implementation forums scheduled throughout the summer. The complete schedule can be found here.

Additional information about the CCIIO implementation forum can be found in this week’s State of the States: Health Insurance Exchanges. Also this week, CCIIO moved forward by adding a FAQ section to its website focused on the blueprint process. The new FAQs are available here.

PDUFA Clears Senate…

Prescription drug user fee legislation cleared the Senate easily on Thursday evening by a 96-1 vote. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was the lone senator to oppose the legislation. The full House is expected to turn to its version of the bill on Wednesday. Congressional leaders indicate they hope to wrap up consideration of the issue by the beginning of July.

While Prevention and Public Health Offset Fails

The Senate also on Thursday voted down legislation that would offset upcoming increases in student loan interest rates with funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Ten Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the legislation. A nearly identical plan was approved by the House in April.

HHS Announces Funding for Family-to-Family Information Centers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week announced $4.9 million in funding for Family-to-Family information centers. Created in 2005, the centers are state-wide, family-led organizations that provide information, education, training, outreach and peer support to families of children with special health care needs. The centers are staffed by trained family leaders who have children with special health care needs, and expertise in navigating federal, state and local public and private health care systems. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oversees the centers. More information can be found here.

PCORI Releases Funding Opportunities

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced the availability of $96 million in grant funding for research in four out of its five research agenda areas. Specifically, the funding opportunities are focused in the following areas:

Additional information on the funding opportunities can be found here.

More Co-Op Loans Announced

Late last week, more than $135 million in co-op loans were announced, funding co-ops in Nevada and Michigan. The Hospitality Health Co-op, located in Nevada, received $65.6 million, with Michigan Consumer’s Healthcare Co-op receiving $71.5 million. More information can be found here.

From the States

California. The Bay Area Council’s Economic Institute is out with a new report estimating that the ACA will generate nearly 100,000 jobs in the state when it is fully implemented. The report also finds that full implementation of the ACA would add $4.4 billion to the state's economic activity. The report can be found here

Missouri.  Late last week, the Missouri House passed House Bill 464, which prevents Governor Jay Nixon (D) from using an Executive Order to create an exchange and puts the question of whether Missouri should establish an exchange on the November ballot. Similar legislation had already been passed by the Missouri Senate earlier this year. To give the law added teeth, any Missouri general assembly member or Missouri taxpayer may file suit against the state if it cooperates with the federal government to set up an exchange.

Texas. The state’s Medicaid director since 2010, Billy Millwee, announced this week that he will retire in August. Millwee has spent 18 years with Texas’ Medicaid program, one of the largest in the country.

Calendar: Looking Ahead

The Senate will be on recess. The House will be in session.

Wednesday, May 30

Thursday, May 31