ONC set to de­tail progress on 21st Cen­tury Cures

Modern Healthcare - - The Week Ahead - —Matthew We­in­stock

DEC. 11: What bet­ter time to make news than when you’re in front of Congress? Maybe the Of­fice of the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy’s long-awaited data-block­ing rule will drop be­fore or dur­ing an over­sight hear­ing by the House En­ergy and Com­merce Sub­com­mit­tee on Health. The com­mit­tee will as­sess how ONC is do­ing in its im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 21st Cen­tury Cures Act, which, among other things, re­quired the ONC to pro­mul­gate a rule to pre­vent, you guessed it, data-block­ing. The rule has been hung up at the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get since early fall.

DEC. 11: In one of his last acts as chair of the House Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Rep. Jeb Hen­sar­ling (R-Texas) will get one more chance to warn his col­leagues of the na­tion’s bal­loon­ing debt. The hear­ing ti­tle cuts to the point: “The Na­tional Debt: Washington, We Have a Spend­ing Prob­lem.” Hen­sar­ling, who is re­tir­ing at the end of the term, has been a vo­cal critic of Congress’ fail­ure to ad­dress the debt, in­clud­ing en­ti­tle­ment spend­ing. But with Democrats tak­ing over the House in Jan­uary, the prospect for any re­duc­tions in en­ti­tle­ment spend­ing is vir­tu­ally nil.

DEC. 15: Record-low un­em­ploy­ment. Re­duced fund­ing for nav­i­ga­tors and mar­ket­ing. A short­ened en­roll­ment pe­riod. Zero tax penalty for not get­ting in­sur­ance. All of those con­trib­uted to a drop-off in peo­ple get­ting cov­er­age on the Af­ford­able Care Act ex­changes. Sign-ups were down 11% through the first five weeks of open en­roll­ment, which closes this week­end. The eco­nomic and pol­icy im­pli­ca­tions of that de­cline is some­thing that Mod­ern Health­care will cer­tainly ex­am­ine as we head into the 2019 plan year.


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