Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • Congress recessed for the Fourth of July holiday without approving a Medicare doctor reimbursement fix bill. HHS announced that it will temporarily freeze Medicare doctor reimbursement rates according to the Washington Post. "Congressional aides said the freeze could last 10 days."
  • The IRS released additional health savings account/high deductible health plan guidance on June 25. "Notice 2008-59 contains over 40 new frequently asked questions and answers that cover a wide range of topics, including:
    • Who is an Eligible Individual;
    • Issues related to High Deductible Health Plans;
    • Contributions to HSAs;
    • Distributions from HSAs; and
    • Establishing an HSA."
  • The Baltimore Sun published an article last week comparing the Google and Microsoft personal health records systems.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report concluding that a Senate bill (S. 1695) creating a pathway to biogeneric drugs would generate over $25 billion in national healthcare savings over a ten year period.
  • I discovered that the CBO Director also has a blog . The Director's entry for today is about a front page New York Times article on the cost effectiveness of the uses CT scans to diagnose heart disease. The article points out the utility of creating an institute to study and report on the effectiveness of diagnostic and treatment procedures as many have suggested.

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