Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend update

The House and Senate will be session this week. The Federal Workforce subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning at 10 am about whether a stand alone Postal Service health plan would solve the Postal Service's financial crisis. The witnesses will be the Postmaster General and Walton Francis, an expert on the FEHBP.

On Thursday and Friday of this week, OPM and AHIP will hold the annual FEHBP carrier conference. OPM traditionally makes the call letter for 2013 benefit and rate proposals public at this conference. The FEHBlog will be in attendance.

Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold three days of arguments this week on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  The FEHBlog gave up on predicting Supreme Court decisions about five years ago. The Court is expected to issue its decision in late June.

Modern Healthcare reports that the Federal Trade Commission will issue a privacy framework tomorrow at 11 am. "A key issue in the report could be the FTC's position on the role of consent in the sharing or trading of an individual's personally identifiable information."

Cardiology Today reports on the Food and Drug Administration's hearings last week about ways to expand the definition of over the counter drugs.   Pharmacists argued that greater pharmacist involvement would facilitate the expansion. The AMA was not so sure. Interestingly,

[One] idea generated included an algorithm available through a store kiosk or the Internet that would allow consumers to find out whether a specific medication would be right for them. The algorithm would include questions about sex, age and chronic disease history and provide information about the medication that would help consumers with self-diagnosis.

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