The James Group Newsletter Vol. 5, Num. 5: Budget Bill, Penalties for Drug Dealers, Opioid Production Quota, Gun Control, Panel to Review Opioid Crisis, KY Votes to Tax Opioids, ObamaCare at All-Time High, VA Rally Medicaid Growth, Uber/Lyft Ride Share, 2018 Index Figures Changed, VSP $40 Coupon



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Solutions R

March 9, 2018 

Volume 5, Number 5

In This Issue

The Budget Bill

Greater Access to Health Plans

Penalties for Drug Dealers

Opioid Production Quota

Gun Control

Panel To Review Opioid Crisis

KY House Votes to Tax Opioids

ObamaCare at All-Time High

VA Rally for Medicaid Growth

Uber/Lyft: Ride Sharing Services

2018 Index Figures Changed

VSP – $40 Coupon on Select Frames

TJG On Facebook

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Kaiser Health News: Buried In The Budget Bill Are Belated Gifts For Some Health Care Providers
When President Donald Trump signed the last-minute budget deal into law earlier this month, the news coverage emphasized how the bill boosted military funding, provided tens of billions in disaster aid and raised the debt ceiling. But buried deep in the 652-page legislation was a repeal of a limit on Medicare coverage of physical and occupational therapy. It received little public attention, but to the American Physical Therapy Association, this headline was decades in the making. (Luthra, 3/2)

Source: Kaiser

The Hill: Proposal To Allow Greater Access To Association Health Plans Would Lead To More Uninsured, Higher Premiums, Analysis Indicates

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/28, Hellmann) reports that the Trump Administration’s proposal to allow small business owners to set up association health plans would “shift more than 3 million enrollees out of” the ACA’s “marketplaces and lead to premium increases,” according to a new analysis released by Avalere Health. The article says this move would allow increased access to AHPs, and some “3.2 million enrollees would shift from” the ACA’s “individual and small group markets to association health plans by 2022.” Consequently, premiums for consumers who remain on ACA exchanges would rise by 3.5 percent by 2022.

Source: The Hill

The Associated Press: Trump Says Drug Dealers May Deserve 'Ultimate Penalty'
President Donald Trump said Thursday the "ultimate penalty" may be in order for drug dealers because the nation's drug problem will never be solved without a show of strength and toughness. The comments were Trump's most explicit on the matter to date. He previously has alluded to death for drug dealers by noting that some countries are "very harsh" with drug dealers. Trump also has said he knows the answer to the drug crisis, but he isn't sure the country is "ready for it yet." (3/1)

Source: The Associated Press

The Hill: Sessions To DEA: Evaluate Opioid Production Quota 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to evaluate whether changes are needed to the amount of opioids drug makers are allowed to produce. If needed, potential alterations could be made through an interim final rule, which allows an agency to issue a new regulation effective immediately without first going through the notice and comment period. (Roubein, 3/1)

Source: The Hill

The New York Times: N.R.A. Suggests Trump May Retreat From Gun Control
The top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association claimed late Thursday that President Trump had retreated from his surprising support a day earlier for gun control measures after a meeting with N.R.A. officials and Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office. The lobbyist, Chris Cox, posted on Twitter just after 9 p.m. that he met with Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence, saying that “we all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA.” (Shear, Gay Stolberg and Kaplan, 3/1)

Source: The NY Times

The Hill: GOP Chairman: Panel Reviewing Additional Legislation To Fight Opioid Crisis
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) detailed additional pieces of opioid legislation the panel will review as it aims to get the bills passed by Memorial Day weekend. At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event Thursday on combating the opioid epidemic, Walden specifically mentioned three bills the committee will review in its next legislative hearings slated for this month. (Roubein, 3/1)

Source: The Hill

The Associated Press: Kentucky House Votes To Tax Opioids To Close Budget Gap
For six years, a pharmaceutical distributor sent more than 50 million doses of prescription opioids to five eastern Kentucky counties, enough for every person there to have 417 pills each. Kentucky's attorney general has sued that company and others like it. Thursday, state lawmakers voted to tax them. (3/1)

Source: The Associated Press

The Hill: Poll: ObamaCare Favorability Reaches All-Time High
The favorable rating for ObamaCare has reached its highest level since the law was enacted in 2010, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll. The poll finds that 54 percent of the public has a favorable view of the law, compared to 42 percent who have an unfavorable view. That is the highest favorable rating in a KFF poll since it began asking the question in 2010. (Sullivan, 3/1)

Source: The Hill

The Washington Post: Hundreds Of Virginians Rally For Medicaid Expansion
Under the shadow of the Bell Tower on Capitol Square, hundreds of people from across Virginia rallied on a rainy Thursday in support of a state budget that would expand Medicaid to about 400,000 low-income residents. Medicaid expansion is included in the budget approved by the House of Delegates. It also would add a work requirement for those seeking coverage. The budget passed by the Senate would not expand Medicaid. The two chambers must work out their differences and pass a budget before the legislative session ends March 10. (Copeland, 3/1)

Source: The Washington Post

The Washington Post: Uber And Lyft Think They Can Solve One Of Medicine’s Biggest Problems
No-show patients are a real problem in medicine, but it's far from clear whether ride-sharing services scheduled by providers are the solution. A study of nearly 800 Medicaid patients in West Philadelphia found that offering to schedule free Lyft rides to and from primary care appointments didn't decrease the number of missed appointments compared to a group of people not offered the service. That work, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine last month, calls into question whether simply expanding the availability of ride-sharing services would help solve the problem. (Johnson, 3/1)

Source: The Washington Post

WageWorks: 2018 Index Figures Changed by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - Maximum contribution limit for those with family coverage is now $6,850 for 2018, still an increase from $6,750 in 2017. This change reduces the previously-released 2018 amount of $6,900 by $50 for the 2018 taxable year. The adoption credit is now $13,810 for 2018, also still an increase from $13,570 in 2017. This change reduces the previously-released 2018 amount of $13,840 by $30 for the 2018 taxable year.

Source: WageWorks

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