States will have more flexibility to introduce new healthcare options to residents under a new policy from CMS that impacts waivers.

CMS proposed several new policies for 2020 that aim to lower prescription drug prices by revising how Medicare plans can cover medicines and negotiate prices.

After a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirements from going into effect earlier this year, CMS reapproved the program on Nov. 20.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) are planning to introduce a bill that aims to “drastically” lower prescription drug prices once Congress is back in session.

Several wildfires in California led HHS Secretary Alex Azar to declare a public health emergency in the state on Nov. 13. The announcement allows CMS providers, suppliers and beneficiaries flexibility to meet emergency needs.

Expanded benefits could include paying for housing among Medicaid beneficiaries, according to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, who spoke about the impact of social determinants of health during a speech with the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions on Nov. 14.

CMS sent state Medicaid directors an email on Nov. 13 announcing new opportunities to design service delivery systems for treating mental health. The announcement eases previous prohibitions against using Medicaid funding to pay for short-term residential treatment in an institution for mental disease.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has signaled that the agency will strengthen its expanded access (EA) program to enable more patients to access investigational medical products and treatments for serious or life-threatening diseases.

CMS proposed regulatory reform of the Medicaid managed care program on Nov. 8, giving states more freedom over network-adequacy standards.

After holding control of Congress for eight years and attempting to eradicate the Affordable Care Act dozens of times, Republicans lost the majority in the House on Nov. 6 during the midterm elections. The partisan shakeup could have several impacts on the nation's healthcare agenda.

CMS plans to cut $380 million in 2019 by establishing site-neutral payments to hospitals. The change, which was outlined in CMS’ Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule on Friday, will lower out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries but also reduce payments for hospital-owned outpatient settings.

CMS finalized the Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program, delaying a controversial coding change that would have resulted in a payment cut for doctors.