KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Ryan: Mental Health Legislation Has Fighting Chance Even In Election Year

The political realities of 2016 shortens the list of what House Speaker Paul Ryan will be able to accomplish. But Ryan highlights a bill making it easier for people with addiction, depression and other mental illnesses to get treatment as one that has promise. Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt will testify on co-ops and the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee will look at a drug discount program.

USA Today: Paul Ryan's Short List Of What Could Get Done This Year
House Speaker Paul Ryan has a list -- a short list, to be sure -- of legislation that he thinks has a good chance of passing the Republican-controlled Congress and being signed by the Democratic president, even during this election year. It's clear that the biggest proposals won't get enacted, from the GOP's goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act to President Obama's support of a comprehensive immigration bill. Ryan cited … other bills with bright prospects this year: … Mental health legislation, now before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I think there's promise in that area because there are some Democrats who are agreeing with us on that." Among other things, the legislation would make it easier for people with addiction, depression and other mental illnesses to get treatment. (Page, 1/14)

CQ Healthbeat: With Nomination In Limbo, Acting CMS Head To Testify On Co-Ops
President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Medicare and Medicaid programs is slated to testify next week about health insurance co-op failures before the same Senate panel that has not acted on his nomination since it was put forward six months ago. Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is due before the Finance Committee at a Jan. 21 hearing examining co-ops established under the 2010 overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). A branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, CMS is the main federal agency implementing the health law, in addition to running the two big government health programs. (Attias, 1/14)

CQ Healthbeat: MedPAC Votes on 340B Drug Plan Proposal, 2017 Recommendations
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted Thursday to delve into the thorny debate on the so-called 340B drug discount program, proceeding over objections from hospital groups and three of its own members. The work will be a new addition for MedPAC’s widely followed annual report recommendations to Congress about Medicare, the nation’s largest single buyer of health care. The influential panel on Thursday also approved more routine specific recommendations regarding Medicare programs that provide more than $500 billion worth of services provided to elderly and disabled Americans. Lawmakers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rely on MedPAC in setting new policies for Medicare, which serves more than 53 million people. (Young, 1/14)

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