By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 06/10/14 07:24 PM EDT
The Obama administration is allowing more than a dozen states to delay part of ObamaCare's small business health insurance exchange until at least 2016.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted leniency for 18 states in their effort to enact "employee choice" on the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP exchange.
The Affordable Care Act intended to allow customers on the SHOP exchange to pick from a variety of options, but the rollout of that feature has been delayed several times. http://bit.ly/1l4Sbo5
O-CARE SUBSIDIES: House Republicans say the administration should stop all subsidies under ObamaCare until it proves it is sending the right amount to people who qualify for healthcare subsidies.
During a joint hearing by the House Ways and Means subcommittees on health and oversight, Republicans blamed the Obama administration for pushing through healthcare reforms without putting into place a verification system to determine if people are eligible for insurance subsidies.
A recent report found about a million people may have to pay back part of their subsidies because the information on their applications doesn’t match their federal records.
However, Democrats at the hearing said Republicans were playing politics and this was yet another effort to undermine and repeal ObamaCare. http://bit.ly/1xFsUpV
AUTISM BILL MOVES FORWARD: The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced autism research legislation Tuesday with a handful of tweaks, including a new title that heeds criticism from self-advocates with autism.
Tuesday's mark-up changed the House Combating Autism Reauthorization Act into the Autism Collaboration, Accountability Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act.
Individuals with autism had protested the original title as "hurtful and stigmatizing" in a June 2 letter to lawmakers.
The mark-up followed the introduction of a similar Senate bill on Monday.
Both bills would create a new autism-oriented position at HHS to coordinate federal autism research and services. http://bit.ly/1kNhISQ
ADVANCING AUTISM RESEARCH: The largest autism advocacy organization announced Tuesday that it is partnering with Google to develop the largest database ever assembled of genomic sequence information on individuals and families with autism.
The group, Autism Speaks, called the effort a "significant milestone" in advancing research on the condition. The database will be an open resource on the Google Cloud Platform.
FUNDING FOR 2015 NAVIGATORS: CMS says it will grant $60 million over the next year for navigators to help uninsured people sign up for healthcare under the federal and state marketplaces.
According to CMS, navigators will be required to have a physical presence in the marketplaces they serve so consumers can have face-to-face interactions.
Companies that are approved to receive funds will be asked to do background checks on their navigator staff because they will be handling sensitive patient data.
Besides annual and quarterly reports navigators are already required to submit, they will also be required to present weekly and monthly progress reports to CMS on how they are interacting with their communities.
Individuals or companies interested in being navigators have until July 10 to apply for the grant. http://bit.ly/1qq0TOh
SOCIAL SECURITY WASTE: House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of people wrongfully placed on federal disability are costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
His office released a report saying that between 2005 and 2013, administrative law judges (ALJs) have put 1.3 million people on disability despite their cases being denied by the Social Security Administration at least once, and most having been denied at least twice.
The report estimates the lifetime cost for supporting those people is $400 billion and criticizes the administration for not reviewing the quality of decisions made by the judges.
The report was released before a hearing on the matter that included Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and several ALJs. The hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday with acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin testifying before the committee. http://bit.ly/1s3MZpM
STATE BY STATE:
Analysis: What are states doing on the extended 'fix' for canceled plans?: http://bit.ly/1u2V9Ky
In NC, Medicaid the key difference between House, Senate budgets: http://bit.ly/1jiXFr7
State handling of Healthy Indiana questioned: http://bit.ly/1n4jnBE
State lawmakers tackle public health issues: http://usat.ly/1n45FyG
Federal IT panel OKs recommendations on privacy technology: http://bit.ly/1oRVgrb
FDA lifts hold on Achillion's hepatitis C drug: http://reut.rs/1s2ySkt
Recession forced many families to seek Medicaid coverage: http://bit.ly/1hG42tk
Don't weaken school lunch standards, supporters say: http://reut.rs/1phhRB1
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED AT THE HILL:
Healthcare groups urge passage of antibiotics bill: http://bit.ly/1pCWwjc
Senate to provide $1.9B for massive rise in child migrants: http://bit.ly/1nvQy2J
Seafood? Eat it, urges the FDA: http://bit.ly/1jiY0dn
Doctors endorse crackdown on e-cigarettes: http://bit.ly/1l5urjE