Content about 111th United States Congress

January 29, 2014

As the massive changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act reach a crescendo in early 2014, who are Americans turning to for help navigating the complexities of a health system in transformation?

As the massive changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act reach a crescendo in early 2014, who are Americans turning to for help navigating the complexities of a health system in transformation? In many cases, it’s to the nation’s most accessible health-and-wellness providers: community pharmacists.

According to an online survey of 348 pharmacists, conducted by Drug Store News, almost two-thirds say they have been receiving questions about health reform since Jan. 1.

April 16, 2014

Are your patients coming to you with questions about health exchanges? Do you know how to help them navigate these organizations? To help retail-based health clinics better assist patients, this year’s Retail Clinician Education Congress in May will feature a Business Leadership track session titled “Healthcare Reform: Healthcare Exchanges and You.”

MINNEAPOLIS — Are your patients coming to you with questions about health exchanges? Do you know how to help them navigate these organizations? To help retail-based health clinics better assist patients, this year’s Retail Clinician Education Congress in May will feature a Business Leadership track session titled “Healthcare Reform: Healthcare Exchanges and You.”

February 18, 2014

Now that most generics have declined in cost, plans will look for new ways to control health spend and ensure that generics are being used whenever possible.

Now that most generics have declined in cost, plans will look for new ways to control health spend and ensure that generics are being used whenever possible. Prescription drug spending is down, and generic drugs made up 77% of all 2012 prescriptions, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Could this generic utilization percentage go even higher as a result of recent healthcare legislation?

Medicaid is increasingly becoming a managed care program, and states are looking to entities like pharmacy benefit managers to help them manage their drug spend.

February 7, 2014

In a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the GAO found that the total draft federal upper limits amount based on the new formula under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about 1.4% lower than the total National Average Drug Acquisition Cost amount in aggregate for 1,035 outpatient drugs subject to the FUL in first quarter 2013.

WASHINGTON — In a report publicly released Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the GAO found that the total draft federal upper limits amount based on the new formula under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about 1.4% lower than the total National Average Drug Acquisition Cost amount in aggregate for 1,035 outpatient drugs subject to the FUL in first quarter 2013.

January 27, 2014

As many as 3 million people have enrolled in private health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment has been up by more than one-third in recent weeks.

WASHINGTON — As many as 3 million people have enrolled in private health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment has been up by more than one-third in recent weeks. 

January 3, 2014

Adults who are covered by Medicaid use emergency rooms 40% more than those in similar circumstances who do not have health insurance, according to a new study, co-authored by an MIT economist, that sheds empirical light on the inner workings of health care in the United States.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Adults who are covered by Medicaid use emergency rooms 40% more than those in similar circumstances who do not have health insurance, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT economist that sheds empirical light on the inner workings of health care in the United States.

The study takes advantage of Oregon's recent use of a lottery to assign access to Medicaid, the government-backed healthcare plan for low-income Americans, to certain uninsured adults. The research examines emergency room records for roughly 25,000 people for a period of 18 months.

December 19, 2013

GoHealth and Walgreens are ramping up their shared efforts to let Americans know GoHealthInsurance.com is a viable solution for people seeking coverage and exploring marketplace options under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the companies announced.

CHICAGO — GoHealth and Walgreens are ramping up their shared efforts to let Americans know GoHealthInsurance.com is a viable solution for people seeking coverage and exploring marketplace options under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the companies announced Wednesday. 

November 7, 2013

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is holding up a vote on a measure that would strengthen regulations on compounding pharmacies in order to alter a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to published reports.

NEW YORK — Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is holding up a vote on a measure that would strengthen regulations on compounding pharmacies in order to alter a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to published reports.

October 8, 2013

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mired in controversy, two of the nation’s largest retailers are backing an innovative Employers Centers of Excellence Network that will offer no-cost knee and hip-replacement surgeries at four highly regarded hospitals.

SAN FRANCISCO — With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mired in controversy, two of the nation’s largest retailers are backing an innovative Employers Centers of Excellence Network that will offer no-cost knee and hip-replacement surgeries at four highly regarded hospitals.

Walmart and Lowe’s issued a joint statement that they and other large employers had joined the Pacific Business Group on Health Negotiating Alliance (PBGH-NA) to launch the national Employer’s Centers of Excellence Network.

October 1, 2013

Meijer has become the latest retailer to address the need many consumers have for more information about the health insurance exchanges that are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer has become the latest retailer to address the need many consumers have for more information about the health insurance exchanges that are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

September 27, 2013

H-E-B pledged to not reduce employee work hours in an effort to avoid having to cover their healthcare last week. In contrast, other employers have been cutting their employee hours to avoid the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that would require healthcare coverage, according to a report published in the San Antonio Express-News.

And while some companies may be looking at ways to squeeze more out of their businesses, H-E-B, along with Walgreens and others, should be applauded for doing the right thing.

H-E-B pledged to not reduce employee work hours in an effort to avoid having to cover their healthcare last week. In contrast, other employers have been cutting their employee hours to avoid the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision that would require healthcare coverage, according to a report published in the San Antonio Express-News

September 26, 2013

H-E-B will not reduce work hours to avoid the health insurance mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a report earlier this month published by the San Antonio Express-News.

SAN ANTONIO — H-E-B will not reduce work hours to avoid the health insurance mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a report earlier this month published by the San Antonio Express-News

Currently, almost 60% of H-E-B's 76,000 employee base qualifies for health benefits, the grocer stated, as the company extends coverage to part-time employees who average at least 29 hours per week. 

September 20, 2013

Only half of the uninsured Americans expected to gain health coverage next year will do so due to a Supreme Court decision that allows states to decide individually whether to expand Medicaid coverage to the poor under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to published reports.

NEW YORK – Only half of the uninsured Americans expected to gain health coverage next year will do so due to a Supreme Court decision that allows states to decide individually whether to expand Medicaid coverage to the poor under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to published reports.

September 16, 2013

“Pharmacies’ efforts to help patients understand aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are demonstrating yet again the value of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare.” That was a key message that National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed in a recent opinion piece.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — “Pharmacies’ efforts to help patients understand aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are demonstrating yet again the value of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare.” That was a key message that National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed in a recent opinion piece.

August 29, 2013

The cost of providing employee healthcare benefits at the nation's largest employers is projected to increase 7% in 2014 — the third-consecutive year employers have budgeted this amount, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of more than 265 large U.S. employers.

WASHINGTON — The cost of providing employee healthcare benefits at the nation's largest employers is projected to increase 7% in 2014 — the third-consecutive year employers have budgeted this amount, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of more than 265 large U.S. employers. The survey also found that some employers believe health insurance exchanges could be a viable option for certain populations.

August 22, 2013

Employee wellness programs have become a popular strategy for employers trying to control costs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey.

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Employee wellness programs have become a popular strategy for employers trying to control costs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey released Tuesday.

August 12, 2013

Is your organization prepared to navigate the new healthcare landscape? That was the question posed by health policy experts in a NACDS TSE Insight Session Sunday.

Is your organization prepared to navigate the new healthcare landscape? That was the question posed by health policy experts in a NACDS TSE Insight Session Sunday.

Although employers have been granted a deadline extension on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health coverage options for their employees, most provisions of the ACA are scheduled to go into effect next year. With those provisions will come an expansion of Medicaid as tens of millions of Americans become eligible for health coverage through health insurance exchanges.

August 1, 2013

A new website aims to educate businesses about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON — A new website aims to educate businesses about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

July 25, 2013

The majority of employers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania don't plan to change their hiring practices in response to Obamacare, according to a new survey.

TEANECK, N.J. — The majority of employers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania don't plan to change their hiring practices in response to Obamacare, according to a new survey.

July 24, 2013

Despite widespread doubt and dissatisfaction, most adults say they're not ready to repeal the healthcare-reform law signed into law two years ago by President Obama, according to a poll.

NEW YORK — Despite widespread doubt and dissatisfaction, most adults say they're not ready to repeal the healthcare-reform law signed into law two years ago by President Obama, according to a poll.

The latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, reported in the National Journal, found that most respondents preferred to spend more money on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, or determine later if it requires changes.

July 19, 2013

With major parts of the Affordable Care Act going into effect in 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new animated video to help people understand the healthcare system changes on the horizon.

MENLO PARK, Calif. — With major parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act going into effect in 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new animated video to help people understand the healthcare system changes on the horizon.

July 3, 2013

The Obama administration announced a one-year delay on a health reform mandate that mid-size and larger employers provide health coverage or pay a penalty to 2015.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a one-year delay on a health reform mandate that mid-size and larger employers provide health coverage or pay a penalty to 2015, according to published reports. 

June 27, 2013

A lobbying group representing retailers is hoping Congress will delay the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act next year.

WASHINGTON — A lobbying group representing retailers is hoping Congress will delay the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act next year.

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, NRF VP and employee benefits policy counsel Neil Trautwein said retailers have "serious concerns" about the healthcare reform law, set to take effect next year. The group said it has "consistently" opposed the law.

March 29, 2013

A representative and a senator, both Republicans, recently introduced legislation that would repeal restrictions on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that prohibit the use of HSA and FSA account dollars for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs without a prescription.

One of the sponsors of the Family Health Care Flexibility Act, Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska, called the restrictions "government overreach and interference." But they're more than that: They're simply wasteful. The whole point of healthcare reform is to expand access to health care while reducing cost, and requiring an expensive and time-consuming doctor visit to get a prescription for an OTC drug fails at both goals.

A representative and a senator, both Republicans, recently introduced legislation that would repeal restrictions on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that prohibit the use of HSA and FSA account dollars for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs without a prescription.

January 14, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a new rule that it said would promote consistent policies and processes for eligibility notices in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the health insurance exchanges mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a new rule that it said would promote consistent policies and processes for eligibility notices in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the health insurance exchanges mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.