After Turbulent Health Law Fight, Administration Turns Attention To Consumer-Friendly Improvements
Officials are focusing on small improvements like better medical records and cost comparison websites. "They are taking a page out of smart policymaking 101 and hitting on themes that everybody cares about," said Kavita Patel, a health policy expert. Meanwhile, CQ looks at the administration’s proposal to increase discretionary spending at the Health and Human Services Department.
The Associated Press:
Trump Uses Page From 'Smart Policymaking 101' On Health Care
A smartphone app that lets Medicare patients access their claims information. Giving consumers a share of drug company rebates for their prescriptions. Wider access to websites that reliably compare cost and quality of medical tests. The Trump administration is taking a pragmatic new tack on health care, with officials promising consumer friendly changes and savings in areas from computerized medical records to prescription drugs. New Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has been rolling out the agenda, saying it has the full backing of President Donald Trump. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/10)
2019 Budget: Health And Human Services
The Trump administration’s proposal to increase discretionary spending at the Health and Human Services Department came as a surprise, especially since the administration’s budget for fiscal 2018 proposed a $17 billion cut to the agency’s nearly $87 billion discretionary budget. The fiscal 2019 budget originally proposed cutting HHS by a similar amount, but after a two-year spending deal was signed into law, the administration reversed course and recommended a slight discretionary spending increase for HHS, mostly to aid programs affecting opioid abuse and mental health. (Siddons, 3/12)
And in other news coming from the administration —
Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.
Obama created an advisory board to be composed of scientists, doctors and worker advocates. Their recommendations have led to significant changes, including the repeal of a rule that made it more difficult for workers who’d been injured in the last two decades to get compensation. President Donald Trump and his administration have taken a different approach: His Labor Department has let nearly all of the board member’s terms expire — and so far hasn’t nominated new ones. (Moss, 3/9)
Watchdog: Social Security Acting Head Hasn't Been Authorized To Serve For Months
The acting head of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been prohibited by law from serving in her position for months, a government watchdog informed the White House this week. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a letter to President Trump this week saying that Nancy Berryhill is in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which generally bars acting agency chiefs from serving in the post for more than 210 days. (Bowden, 3/10)
HHS Secretary To Attend Inauguration Of Chile's New President
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will lead the U.S. delegation attending the inauguration of Chile's next president on Sunday, the White House says. Azar, who was confirmed as the Trump administration's new health chief in January, will lead a delegation to the ceremony in which conservative Sebastián Piñera will be inaugurated as president for a second time. (Delk, 3/10)