Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A big day for Congressional hearings

  • The Federal Workforce Subcommittee of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee held a hearing on FEHBP prescription drug benefits this afternoon. I had expected the hearing to focus on a recent GAO report on the cost of specialty drugs to FEHBP members. Instead, the Chairman, Stephen Lynch (D MA) was interested in exploring the transparency of prescription benefit manager contracts and the ability of the Inspector General to audit those contracts, as noted in this Dow Jones newswire report.

  • Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D WV) released a report by his Committee's investigators on alleged insurer misuse of the Ingenix "usual reasonable and customary" databases. Senator Rockefeller held an impromtu Committee hearing to showcase the report and flog health insurers as discussed in this AP report. The Committee activities appear timed to support the Obama Administration's support for a public health plan option in the universal health care reform scheme.

  • Roll Call reports on the work of the Senate Finance and Health Employment Labor and Pensions ("HELP") Committees on health care reform:

    Optimism about a bipartisan outcome appears high among key Democrats and
    Republicans who serve on Finance, even as the GOP Members of the HELP Committee complain that their markup has devolved into a partisan exercise. The process for approving health care reform in the Senate calls for merging the Finance and HELP bills into a single measure. Finance is set to begin its markup after the July Fourth recess.

    Business Insurance reports on the health care reform push and its potential impact on employer sponsored health coverage.

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