Executive order on Medicare calls for flexibility for MA plans

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday directing HHS to develop regulations that will allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer new plan designs to incentivize value, expand use of telehealth in Medicare and align payments for fee-for-service Medicare with those for MA and commercial plans, among other measures. Speaking at a Florida retirement community, Trump said proposals from some Democrats to expand Medicare to all Americans would destroy the existing program, take away choice and hurt current beneficiaries.

Reuters (10/3),  Healthcare Finance (10/3)

Legislation Proposed to End Surprise Medical Bills

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Senators unveil revised legislation to end surprise medical bills

Senate Health Committee Chair Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have released a revised version of their health care legislative package with new provisions meant to protect patients against unexpected medical bills. The Lower Health Care Costs Act, released ahead of the expected health committee markup next week, would create a benchmark for health insurer-provider payment disputes, prohibit out-of-network deductibles during emergencies, and limit patients’ out-of-pocket expenses for air ambulance transport.

Becker’s Hospital Review (6/19),  The Hill (6/19)

Push to Expand Medicare Benefits

Legislation to cover dental, vision and hearing care under Medicare is being floated by Democratic members of Congress. Dan Adcock of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said adding benefits would be expensive but would ultimately save the government money by reducing serious health problems associated with a lack of these types of care.

EpiPen – $465 Million Settlement

EpiPen maker Mylan has agreed to a $465 million settlement over claims that Medicaid and Medicare were overcharged for the epinephrine auto-injectors because the product was misclassified. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., questioned whether other drugs are similarly misclassified, leading to overpayment by government programs.

The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (10/7)