KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Kohl, Grassley Press CMS On Long-Delayed Physician Payment Sunshine Rule

In other hearings, Republican lawmakers pressed the IRS about the regulatory costs of the health law and criticized the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control.

Politico Pro: No Answers For Kohl, Grassley On Sunshine
Sens. Herb Kohl and Chuck Grassley are demanding to know when CMS will come out with a long-delayed rule to require manufacturers to disclose financial relationships with doctors. But CMS isn't giving many answers, except that it's complicated. Niall Brennan, director of the Policy and Data Analysis Group at the agency, was on the hot seat at a roundtable convened by the senators Wednesday. But if he knew when the rule would come out, or when it would require companies to start collecting data, he wasn't saying. As soon as possible is as far as he would go. Grassley (R-Iowa) referred to rumblings that the agency had completed a final rule and sent it to the Office of Management and Budget but that OMB planned to withhold the rule until after the election (Norman, 9/12).

CQ HealthBeat: Senators Want CMS To Move On Sunshine Requirements
Senators on Wednesday afternoon pressed Department of Health and Human Services officials for faster action on a section of the health care law designed to increase the transparency of financial relationships between drug makers, device makers and doctors. The health care law provision sought to decrease the influence of marketing on the prescriptions written by doctors, including direct payments, drug samples, gifts and meals. The idea is to develop a reporting system to disclose the doctor-business relationships to the public (Norman, 9/12).

CQ HealthBeat: Lawmakers Question IRS Experts About Regulatory Costs Of Health Care Law
House Republicans expressed concern Tuesday that the IRS's implementation of the health care overhaul would cause a significant burden on taxpayers in the amount of time they would need to devote to complying with the law. Louisiana Republican Charles Boustany Jr., chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, said taxpayers would have to spend a total of nearly 80 million hours each year to deal with the regulations the IRS has published so far. A chart distributed by committee staff during a panel hearing on Tuesday showed that more than 40 million of those hours would be spent on the law’s small-business tax credit, which was designed to help employers provide health insurance for their workers (Attias, 9/12).

Modern Healthcare: Dems Defend Birth Control Coverage Mandate
Democrats defended the Obama administration's requirement that Catholic hospitals cover birth control services as comparable to federal efforts to desegregate Southern hospitals, during a Wednesday congressional hearing. The hearing on a range of actions by the administration that Republicans criticized as "abuses" partly focused on the requirement that all insurance plans—including self-insured plans frequently used by religious employers—cover various types of birth control (Daly, 9/12).

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