The Daily Scan

June 8, 2018

Last Updated: 9:00 AM EST

Litigation

  • The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday that the part of the Affordable Care Act requiring individuals to have health insurance is unconstitutional, an unusual move that could lead to stripping away some of the most significant and popular parts of the law. In a brief filed in a federal court in Texas, the department said a tax law signed last year by President Trump that eliminated penalties for not having health insurance rendered the so-called individual mandate under the ACA unconstitutional. The DOJ said that also nullifies two other major provisions of the ACA linked to the individual mandate, including one barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said he had determined the individual mandate will be unconstitutional when the tax law becomes effective in 2019. (Reuters.com Press Release)

 

  • Mississippi-based physician Albert Diaz, M.D. was sentenced yesterday to 42 months in prison for his involvement in a $3 million compounding pharmacy fraud scheme in the Southern District Court of Mississippi. Restitution to TRICARE and other insurance companies will be determined at a later date. After a five-day jury trial in March, Diaz was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance, four counts of distributing and dispensing a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation and five counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation. (Justice.gov)

Legislation

  • U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and U.S. Representatives David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) yesterday introduced the bicameral, bipartisan Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) to ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders. The bill also extends these protections to Washington D.C, U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribes, and contains common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribes regulating marijuana do so safely. (Warren.Senate.gov: Press Release, Bill Text)

Regulation

  • HHS Secretary Alex Azar issued a statement yesterday regarding the Trump Administration’s release of a set of advertisements promoting awareness among young people around opioid addiction, claiming that “No one individual has done more to raise awareness of our country’s opioid crisis than President Trump." (HHS.gov)

 

  • The Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General released a the results of an audit conducted on the Food & Drug Administration that concluded that the administration accurately computed prescription drug user fee rates. It was also determined that the human drug review workload computation was appropriate and that the inflation adjustment for personnel compensation and benefits and non-personnel compensation and benefit costs were correctly computed. (OIG.HHS.gov)

Private Sector

  • Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have chosen a CEO for their health-care venture and will likely reveal the name within two weeks, Buffett told CNBC on Thursday. The three announced a partnership in January to tackle rising health-care costs. (CNBC.com)

 

 

 

 

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