Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Update

Federal News Radio reports Congress extended the continuing resolution funding the federal government through Tuesday December 21, which, according to NASA, also happens to be the first occasion that a lunar eclipse (shown at left) occurs on the winter solstice in 564 years.  CNN reports that the Congressional leaders from both parties have agreed upon a further extension of the continuing resolution into March so that the new Congress may consider the issue.

Last Friday, the Office of Management and Budget cleared for publication a Health and Human Services Department proposed rule governing the Affordable Care Act's unreasonable health insurance premium review process. Logically, the rule should exclude the FEHB Program from this process because a government agency, the Office of Personnel Management, approves those FEHBP premiums. Based on recent experience, I expect that HHS will hold a press conference on Monday or Tuesday to announce the rule.

Speaking of HHS rules, the Congressional Research Service released a report on the Affordable Care Act rulemaking process. Since March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act regulators have issues eighteen final rules implementing the new law.

Modern reports that "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan asked a federal judge Friday to dismiss the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit accusing the state's leading health insurer of discouraging competition by engaging in practices that result in higher hospital prices for other insurers and patients."

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