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FDA Issues New Approvals For Leukemia, Ovarian Cancer Medicines

KHN Morning Briefing

The Food and Drug Administration approves a new Pfizer drug to treat a rare, fast-progressing form of leukemia. The agency also expands the use Lynparza, sold by AstraZeneca and Merck & Co, to treat recurrent ovarian cancer. In other pharmaceutical news, changes to 340B program are delayed and a biopharma executive encounters challenges when trying to fund his own project.

Kansas’ Osawatomie State Hospital Passes Inspection

KHN Morning Briefing

The psychiatric hospital lost its certification in 2015, which resulted in a loss of about $1 million a month in federal funding for the state, but it now appears to be back on track. Meanwhile, in Oregon, Willamette Valley Behavioral Health plans to sue the state over the rejection of its plan to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital. In addition, the cause of the illness at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital is still unclear and two Florida cancer centers face fraud allegations.

Trump Poised To End Contraception Requirement For Employee Health Benefits

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump is expected to issue a regulation allowing employers with religious objections to omit coverage for contraception from their workers’ insurance plans. In other Trump administration news: the Department of Health and Human Services names 14 people to its mental health panel; the cancellation of several payment reforms is complicating efforts by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to promote value-based care; and the National Parks Service lifts a ban on selling plastic water bottles in the parks.

HHS Rolls Back Two Programs Designed To Test New Medicare Payment Models

KHN Morning Briefing

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it will cancel the Obama-era pilot programs that required Medicare providers to participate in new care delivery models for things such as heart attacks, bypass surgeries, and some hip and femur fractures.

GOP Efforts To Repeal-And-Replace Obamacare Resurface

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) says his sweeping proposal is “about the only game left in town.” On the House side, members of the conservative Freedom Caucus on Friday filed a discharge petition that, with a simple 218-vote majority, would trigger a floor vote on a two-year Affordable Care Act repeal — with no replacement — as early as September. Meanwhile, on the other side of the issue, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is preparing to introduce his Medicare-for-all plan and other Democrats are shopping around a Medicare buy-in plan that would begin at age 50.

Medicare’s Observation Care Policy More Likely To Affect Low-Income Seniors

KHN Morning Briefing

A new study finds that low-income patients are more likely to be kept in the hospital under observation, and the higher out-of-pocket spending that accompanies not being officially admitted is a bigger burden for them. Also in the news, long-term care hospitals are pressing Medicare for a change that may cut their reimbursement rates.

Hospitals Nervous As Medicare Considers Paying For Joint Replacements At Surgical Centers

KHN Morning Briefing

If the federal government begins covering hip and knee surgeries in outpatient facilities, hospitals could lose substantial business. Also in the news, consumer groups mobilize to fight the Trump administration’s proposal to allow nursing homes to force residents to settle complaints through mediation and in support of a decision during the Obama administration to hold up Medicaid money for Texas because of anti-abortion laws there.