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May 2017
News Archive

Will insurance cover the cost of medical marijuana? May 31, 2017
There are a lot of unknowns about Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program currently under development: for example, will insurance cover the cost of the drug? Lancaster Online answers these questions and many more, including how much it will cost and how patients can find a doctor who will certify them for use. 
 
Big week ahead for health care policy May 30, 2017
Coming out of an extended holiday weekend, the Republican health care bill will be front and center this week. Although lawmakers won't be in D.C., Senate staff will be drafting its version of a health care bill. The Hill reports the GOP admits getting the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill will not be an easy endeavor. 
 
Most Americans disapprove of health bill: poll May 26, 2017
The majority of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act replacement bill. According to CNN, 57 percent are against the bill, while only 20 percent say they support it. The approval rating mirrors that of the existing health care bill; a CNN poll from 2010, just after the ACA passed, showed 59 percent disapproved. 
 
Credentialing bill passes state House May 25, 2017
A physician credentialing reform bill has passed the state House and is headed to the Senate. The Health Care Practitioner Credentialing Act would standardize the credential form and set a 30-day processing time for insurers. The PAFP has partnered on the bill with several other state physician organizations. 
 
Miller tapped to head consolidated health dept. May 24, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf has selected Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to head the state's consolidated Department of Health and Human Services. PennLive reports this assumes the consolidation of four departments happens as planned. Miller is the former administrator of the Oregon Insurance Division.  
 
Pa.'s top health official stepping down May 23, 2017
Pennsylvania's top health official is leaving her position to take a job in the private sector. According to WITF News, Health Secretary Karen Murphy will leave the office next month. During her tenure, Murphy has overseen many changes, including the implementation of the state's prescription drug monitoring database. 
 
Medicaid slashed under budget proposal May 22, 2017
The budget proposal President Donald Trump will present on Tuesday is expected to include massive cuts to Medicaid. According to the Washington Post, the plan would follow through on a House Republican proposal to cut more than $800 billion over a decade, which could cut off benefits for 10 million Americans. 
 
House may need to vote on health care again May 19, 2017
While Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) earlier in May, their haste may mean they will have to vote on it again. NBC News reports the bill must meet certain requirements under "reconciliation," but the Congressional Budget Office, which evaluates legislation, has yet to finish its projections.  
 
Registration open for dermatology CME May 18, 2017
Registration is now open for the PAFP's Clinical Procedures and Dermatology Days CME program, Aug. 15 in Monroeville, and in Langhorne, Bucks County Aug. 19! Registration for this event will be via the PAFP's new member database. Please read the latest issue of Progress Notes in your email (or click here) for details. 
 
Health insurance gains stalled in 2016 May 17, 2017
Increasingly more Americans had insurance in the previous five years, but the Associated Press reports those gains stalled in 2016. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, 28.6 million Americans were uninsured, unchanged from 2015; the uninsured rate was flat at 9 percent. 
 
Obamacare small business enrollment to end May 16, 2017
The Trump administration plans to put an end to the small business program on HealthCare.gov, citing low enrollment. CNBC reports the Affordable Care Act's SHOP program was open to businesses of 50 employees or fewer; small businesses would have to purchase private insurance under the proposal. 
 
National Women's Health Week begins May 15, 2017
National Women's Health Week, an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, runs through May 20. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and encourage them to take steps to improve their health. Learn more about this important week here! 
 
Front-line physicians respond to health care vote May 12, 2017
Many pundits, politicians, and other people have stepped up to respond to last week's health care vote, but what about physicians? Medical Economics reports reaction in the health care industry has been negative, but the publication goes a bit deeper, asking individual doctors their opinions on the bill. Read them here. 
 
Health plan less popular since passing May 11, 2017
The GOP's Obamacare replacement plan has become less popular since passing the House. According to CNBC, before last Thursday's vote, 42 percent of voters approved of the American Health Care Act, but just 38 percent approved after the vote. In addition, 44 percent disapprove, while 18 percent have no opinion. 
 
Senate confirms FDA nominee May 10, 2017
The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb. A former FDA director, The Hill reports Gottlieb was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. Gottlieb has worked for a number of health care companies and is a practicing physician. 
 
Don't wait to apply for AAFPNC scholarships May 9, 2017
The American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) National Conference will be here before you know it - don't forget to apply for a scholarship! You'll enjoy education and professional development sessions, visit with 330-plus residency programs from across the country, and so much more. Just click here to apply!

Trump urges Senate to pass health care overhaul May 8, 2017
President Donald Trump is asking Senate Republicans to pass the overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. The Associated Press reports Trump called on the GOP to "not let the American people down." Nevertheless, some in the party have already taken a dim view of the bill; a Senate vote is weeks, if not months, away.
 
Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan passes House May 5, 2017
At long last, House Republicans have passed a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The New York Times reports the measure passed in a 217-213 vote, but there could be a long legislative road ahead: the bill is headed to the Senate, where a handful of Republicans immediately rejected it.
 
House Republicans will vote on health care today May 4, 2017
House Republican leaders have announced they will hold a health care vote today. It's unknown whether the GOP has the votes to pass the bill, but according to NBC News, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he "feel[s] great about the count." A previous attempt to pass the legislation failed two months ago.
 
How does pharma influence physician prescribing? May 3, 2017
When pharmaceutical representatives are restricted from seeing doctors, the physicians tend to prescribe more generics and fewer brand name drugs. That's according to a new study from NPR and ProPublica, which found "significant changes" in prescription practices when sales reps are barred from visiting. 
 
Health care overhaul set for a vote? May 2, 2017
House Republicans hope to vote on health care this week, but NBC News reports it's not a sure thing. That's because some GOP members aren't sure whether or not they want to support it. Republicans say they're growing more confident; changes to the bill last week brought a conservative coalition on board. 
 
Trump insists pre-existing conditions will be covered May 1, 2017
Despite language in a bill circulating in the House, President Trump is maintaining that the GOP's health care law will retain coverage for pre-existing conditions. According to Politico, the president said a clause guarantees that the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act will keep its most popular provision
 
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