Impact Blog

Commentary, news, and updates from Impact Health Policy Partners.


President Biden’s American Families Plan; Addresses Child Care, Paid Leave, Nutrition, Education; Makes Permanent ACA Premium Tax Credit Increase; No Drug Pricing

By Alyssa Llamas | April 28, 2021

In advance of President Joe Biden’s address to a Joint Session of Congress this evening, the White House unveiled the American Families Plan, the “human infrastructure” component of the Administration’s broader infrastructure plan (fact sheet). The roughly $1.8 trillion proposal calls for investments in child care, paid leave, nutrition, and education as well as various…

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Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce Offers Long-Term Recommendations on Telehealth

By Josh LaRosa | September 17, 2020

On September 15, 2020, the Taskforce on Telehealth Policy (TTP) – convened by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Alliance for Connected Care, and American Telemedicine Association – convened a public briefing on its findings and recommendations regarding the COVID-19 telehealth flexibility expansions (full report). First announced in June 2020 (details), the TTP was convened…

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CMS Delays Release of Stark Law Modifications Until Aug. 2021

By Josh LaRosa | August 27, 2020

The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is formally extending the deadline for when it must publish the final rule amending the physician self-referral regulations. The deadline is now listed as August 31, 2021. The agency first proposed these changes in October 2019 as part of the agency’s broader effort to promote value-based care…

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COVID-19: CMS to Allow Temporary Premium Reductions for 2020

By Josh LaRosa | August 6, 2020

On August 4, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new guidance (here) stating it will temporarily be exercising enforcement discretion to allow health plan issuers in the individual and small group markets to offer premium reductions for one or more months for 2020 coverage. Details follow. Generally, CMS states, health plan…

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Office of Minority Health Announces Funding Opportunity to Test Disparity-Reducing Interventions in Public Health Programs

By Lauren Testa | July 31, 2020

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a funding opportunity (MP-CPI-20-001) titled, “State/Tribal/Territorial Partnership Initiative to Document and Sustain Disparity-Reducing Interventions.” This initiative is intended to help build the capacity of state, tribal, and territorial governmental…

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Secretary Azar Renews COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration through October 23

By Taylor Cowey | July 24, 2020

On July 23, 2020,, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar signed a renewal of his determination that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic constitutes a nationwide public health emergency (PHE). Secretary Azar first declared COVID-19 a nationwide PHE on January 31, 2020, utilizing his authority under Sec. 319 of the Public Health Service…

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In Health Affairs Blog, Administrator Verma Speaks to the Impact & Future of the COVID-19 Telehealth Flexibilities

By Josh LaRosa | July 22, 2020

On July 15, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma published a blog post in Health Affairs outlining the impact telehealth has had during the COVID-19 pandemic. The post also provides a glimpse at how the agency is thinking about whether to make certain telehealth flexibilities permanent once the public…

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Public Health Emergency Declaration, National Emergency Declaration, and the Prospects for Extension

By Taylor Cowey | July 15, 2020

Secretary Azar declared the COVID-19 pandemic a nationwide public health emergency (PHE) on Jan. 31, 2020, utilizing his authority under Sec. 319 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS law; PHE FAQs). That law says that a PHE declaration lasts until the Secretary declares that it no longer exists or upon the expiration of the…

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COVID-19: House W&M Committee Discusses the Disproportionate Impact of Pandemic on Communities of Color

By Josh LaRosa | June 1, 2020

On May 27, 2020, the House Ways and Means Committee convened its first ever virtual hearing to discuss the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Overall, members vocalized support for the need to address the underlying reasons behind why minority communities have experienced higher rates of infection and mortality linked to COVID-19. Specifically,…

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CMS Finalizes a Subset of Policies in MA and Part D Final Rule, Including ESRD MA Enrollment and MA and Part D Star Rating Changes; Subsequent Final Rule to Address Remaining Policies

By Erin Slifer | May 22, 2020

On May 22, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Contract Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Final Rule (press release; fact sheet).  Of note, CMS is finalizing only a subset of the proposed policies, and will address the remaining proposed policies in subsequent rulemaking in 2020. What…

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