OVERNIGHT HEALTHCARE: Medicare fraud in the spotlight

House committees are convening Tuesday to discuss problems with Medicare fraud and ways to boost drug innovation.

The House Oversight Committee has called on Shantanu Agrawal, the newly appointed director of the Center for Program Integrity at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to testify on the federal government’s efforts to recoup misspent Medicare funds.

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Joining Agrawal will be officials from the Government Accountability Office and the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

In a similar hearing in April, lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee blasted CMS for not doing enough to curb Medicare fraud. Tuesday’s hearing will likely see similar criticisms at from House Republicans.

The House Ways and Means subcommittee on health will also hold a hearing to discuss problems with Medicare incentive systems in hospital settings. The meeting will include Sean Cavanaugh, a director at CMS, among other panelists.

In particular, the hearing will discuss the “two-midnight” rule, which can incentivize shorter hospital inpatient stays.

House committees will also turn their attention to drug innovation.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday will talk about the future of drug development. Sara Radcliffe, an executive vice president of the industry group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and Frank Sasinowski, an attorney and spokesperson for the National Organization for Rare Diseases, will be among the panelists.

The hearing will discuss recommendations made in The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report on Drug Innovation released earlier this month.

That report laid out eight recommendations including reforming management practices at the Food and Drug Administration, and expanding use of the agency’s accelerated drug approval programs.

ObamaCare subsidies: Republicans are demanding a follow-up from the Obama administration after a report that hundreds of thousands of people might be receiving incorrect insurance subsidies on ObamaCare's exchanges.

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters Monday to federal health officials and three private contractors involved in processing applications for the insurance marketplace.

Colorado avoids premium hikes: Officials in Colorado announced Monday that they will reduce the number of geographic divisions in the state's health insurance market, a move likely to soften premium increases next year.

The shift from 11 to nine geographic rating areas in Colorado means consolidating four rural risk pools into two for the 2015 enrollment season. The change will increase the number of people the region's insurance companies use to price their policies.

Vitter vows to oppose Burwell: Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination hearings before two Senate committees went smoothly but some Republicans say she won’t receive the same unanimous support to head HHS as she did to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Last week, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R- Utah) voiced their objections in a letter to Burwell. Now Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) says he will vote against her nomination at the urging of Louisiana House Republicans.

FDA budget: House Appropriators are proposing to give the Food and Drug Administration $4.5 billion in funding for fiscal 2015, falling over $200 million short of the $4.74 billion the agency had requested.

The budget proposed Monday would increase the agency’s budget by $98 million, but earlier this year the FDA had called for a $358 million rise under the president’s proposed budget.

 

Tuesday’s schedule:

The Hill newspaper will hold a breakfast event on sunscreen innovation and skin cancer prevention.

The House Oversight committee will hold a hearing to discuss how to recover losses from Medicare fraud.

The committee’s subpanel on Government Operations will mull the federal response to autism and related disorders.

The House Ways and Means subcommittee on Health will look at ways to improve Medicare policies.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a meeting to discuss a recent presidential report to boost drug innovation.

 

State by state:

Calif. ballot issue heats up discussion over med-mal caps

Florida MERS patient recovers

Va. lawmakers deadlocked on accepting Obamacare funds

 

Reading list:

Roberts reunites high court majority after Obamacare vote

US justices decline to hear dialysis machine patent case

Republicans have edge on top election issue: the economy

Political TV ads: $445 million mostly goes to trashing Obamacare

 

What you might have missed at The Hill:

Jindal: Don't give up O-Care repeal fight

Report: Fear of high ObamaCare premiums ‘unfounded’

Ga. Dem dodges on ObamaCare views

Report: Health lobbying down in first quarter

CDC reopens SARS playbook from 2003

 

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