The Obama administration and leading members of Congress are clashing over a new Medicare payment rule that could compromise patient care, impede development of a fledgling part of the biologics industry, and make it more difficult to track patient safety issues. At issue is government payment policy for a new class of drugs called “biosimilars”—drugs that are similar but not identical to the original brand name biologic drug.

As Congress considers year-end legislative options, one small change in the Affordable Care Act could make a big difference in access to quality health care for millions of Americans: Lifting the ban on creation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals.

Hillary Clinton’s prescription to soothe the economic hangover consumers have from ObamaCare’s regulatory binge is a single ingredient: more regulation. Mrs. Clinton begins her treatment plan by focusing on “price gouging” by pharmaceutical companies and the need for price regulation.

“Dr. Oliver Korshin, a 71-year-old ophthalmologist in Anchorage, is not happy about the federal government’s plan to have all physicians use electronic medical records or face a Medicare penalty. A few months ago when he applied for an exemption to the latest requirement, he had to pick an exemption category that fit.
“The only one that possibly applied to me was disaster,” Korshin says. “So I picked disaster and I described my disaster as old age and I submitted as my supporting document a copy of my passport.””

“Sparks flew Wednesday at a hearing on the botched rollout of as Republican lawmakers grilled former White House Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Todd Park about his role in the site’s creation.
GOP members had sought for almost a year to bring Park before the House Science and Technology Committee, desiring to suss out his level of involvement in the debacle.”

“Within days of the Republican Party regaining control of the Senate, a host of policy issues has quickly risen to the top of Washington’s priorities list: trade, corporate tax reform, the Keystone pipeline. And then there’s the medical device tax.
The tax, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, plays a marginal role in the health-care overhaul, but the push to repeal it has attracted millions of dollars of lobbying, as well as high-profile supporters on the Hill, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).”

“Tuesday’s Republican victories in the U.S. Senate are inspiring strong optimism among medical device companies in Minnesota and nationwide for a repeal of the 2.3 percent tax on their products.
But repealing the unpopular medical-device tax will not be easy, even with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Any stand-alone device-tax bill would face a likely veto threat by President Barack Obama, which means repeal is more likely to be a part of a broader bill reforming business taxes or the Affordable Care Act.”

“There is nothing more time consuming and expensive for a patient than undergoing extra tests or procedures during a trip to the emergency room, doctor’s office or urgent care center.
Often a physician will know exactly what a patient’s diagnosis is but will order an x-ray, CT scan, blood work or MRI to reaffirm his clinical judgment. The common rationale is to back up his opinion in case there is a lawsuit.”

“Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic party’s nomination for President in 2016, is giving a speech at this week’s annual meeting of the powerful Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, in her hometown as the lobby prepares to derail a tax key to funding the Affordable Care Act.
The former U.S. Secretary of State, who has yet to officially declare her presidential candidacy, is also in Chicago to campaign for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a tight race with billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner as the incumbent gains momentum here. During her visit, which has been kept under wraps until this week, Clinton has been given a prime spot during the three-day AdvaMed event, delivering a keynote at Wednesday’s midday plenary session at Chicago’s McCormick Place.”

“The House Science Committee has issued a subpoena for former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park over his role in developing
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the subpoena for the Obama administration’s former top tech advisor, demanding that he testify about his oversight of the ObamaCare website, including its security protocols.
The subpoena comes after Park’s previous refusals to testify and his recent cancellation of a meeting with House lawmakers after it became clear that the briefing would be public, the committee said.”