Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Ebola Update

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said the agency will commence Phase I human trials for an experimental Ebola vaccine this week and that several other initiatives are in the planning stages. The ramp up of Ebola activities comes in the wake of an announcement from the World Health Organization (WHO) that governments need to step up their response to the Ebola outbreak which could soon result in over 20,000 infections.

Congressional Inquiries and Agency Actions Involving the PPACA

Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sent a letter to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demanding that Congress and the public be brought up to date before the next Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Open Season on the number of individuals who have enrolled and who had their coverage cancelled due to immigration, citizenship and income status or non-payment of premiums. They said the last information released on May 1st is out-of-date and insufficient. Reporting on the costs of the troubled HealthCare.gov site, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General reported that CMS paid $100 million more than originally expected on 20 contracts for the development of the site and in total had paid $500 million of the $800 million that was due in February for the development and operation of the website. In an attempt to put in place an experienced manager, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell appointed Kevin Counihan, the former CEO of the Connecticut health insurance exchange, to serve as the lead person in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) who will oversee and be responsible for the federal exchange (HealthCare.gov) and for managing relationships with state-run health insurance exchanges. To ramp up 2014/2015 tax return activities involving the PPACA, the IRS made public draft instructions and forms for individuals, exchanges and employers as follows:
• Form 1095-A will be sent to the IRS and enrollees by health insurance exchanges;
• Forms 1094/1095-B, Health Coverage, will be sent to the IRS by health insurers showing information on
  who provided a taxpayer’s health insurance coverage, the type of coverage and who in the household
  was covered and for which months during the year; and
• Forms 1094/1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, will be sent to the IRS
  by large employers to report on health-care coverage offered to full-time employees, if any, and the 
  individuals covered in each month.

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