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June 30, 2023

Washington Roundup

  • Beginning June 26, 2023, the Senate and the House of Representatives are on State / District work breaks for two weeks.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has seven decisions to issue from its October 2022 term. On June 27, 2023, the Court issued three decisions. Its next decision day is June 29, 2023.
  • On June 23, 2023, the President issued an Executive Order on Strengthening Access to Affordable, High Quality Contraception and Family Planning Services, which includes:
    • “Sec. 2.  Improving Access and Affordability Under the Affordable Care Act.  (a)  The Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (Secretaries) shall consider issuing guidance, consistent with applicable law, to further improve Americans’ ability to access contraception, without out-of-pocket expenses, under the Affordable Care Act.  In doing so, the Secretaries shall consider actions that would, to the greatest extent permitted by law:
    • “(i)   ensure coverage of comprehensive contraceptive care, including all contraceptives approved, granted, or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, without cost sharing for enrollees, participants, and beneficiaries; and
    •  “(ii)  streamline the process for patients and healthcare providers to request coverage, without cost sharing, of medically necessary contraception.
    • “(b)  The Secretaries shall consider additional actions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to promote increased access to affordable over-the-counter contraception, including emergency contraception.”
  • On June 26, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule for ESRD services, “that proposes to update payment rates and policies and includes requests for information under the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for renal dialysis services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries on or after January 1, 2024. This rule also proposes an update to the Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) dialysis payment rate for renal dialysis services furnished by ESRD facilities for calendar year (CY) 2024. In addition, the rule proposes to update requirements for the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP).
    • “For CY 2024, CMS is proposing to increase the ESRD PPS base rate to $269.99, increasing total payments to ESRD facilities by approximately 1.6 percent. The CY 2024 ESRD PPS proposed rule also includes several proposals and requests for information related to ESRD PPS payment policies.”
  • On June 27, 2023, the FTC proposed changes to the premerger notification form and rules that implement the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.  “The HSR Act and its implementing rules require the parties to certain mergers and acquisitions to submit premerger notification to the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice…, which involves completing HSR Forms, and to wait a specified period of time before consummating their transaction.” The public comment deadline is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, expected to be this week.
  • Also, the HHS Inspector General announced posting of a final rule to implement penalties for information blocking:
    • “The final rule establishes the statutory penalties created by the 21st Century Cures Act.” An entity or individual determined by OIG as having committed information blocking may be subject to up to a $1 million penalty per violation.
    • “The final rule does not impose new information blocking requirements. OIG incorporated regulations published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as the basis for enforcing information blocking penalties.” The ONC provides  information on its regulations, and complaints about information blocking may be submitted through the ONC Information Blocking Portal or the OIG Hotline.
  • Finally, HR Dive points out the steps that covered employers should take to comply with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which took effect on June 27.
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