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Politics, Law and Policy Blog

Bipartisan policy insights and political intelligence

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments.

This week, Covered California disclosed that it was reaching out to 100,000 California enrollees to have them verify their immigration and citizenship status and Your Health Idaho expressed optimism that it would receive a data file from CMS with data on its 76,000 enrollees in early September that it could use for reenrollment purposes.

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up  is our weekly look at developments affecting health care at the federal and state levels.

This week, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the ACA’s medical device tax was bringing less revenue than projected and an audit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General determined that Illinois repeatedly overdrew Medicaid funds from its Payment Management System from FY 2010 to 2012.

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments.

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments. This week, CMS updated its solicitation to hire the next government contractor to continue building the HealthCare.gov IT system and Connect for Health Colorado informed its board that CMS had formally approved the exchange’s request for a No Cost Extension to spend their exchange establishment grants into 2015.

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up  is our weekly look at developments affecting health care at the federal and state levels.

Weekly Health Care Wrap-Up is our weekly look at developments affecting health care at the federal and state levels. This week, CMS sent letters to about 310,000 exchange enrollees requesting additional documentation to verify their eligibility for subsidies and an annual survey found that most large employers expect health costs to rise by an average of 6.5 percent in 2015.

Mark Burkhalter Authors Atlanta Business Chronicle Article

Posted in Tax Policy

MLA’s Mark Burkhalter authored the article, “Viewpoint: To create jobs, attract and retain business with corporate tax cuts,” featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

A favorite argument among government bureaucrats is that corporations aren’t people. Tell that to the employees who put in at least 40 hours a week to keep a company profitable in hopes that there will be a raise or bonus come year end.

But when government sees companies as nothing more than a name, employees suffer. Such is what is happening to American workers. Taxes on American corporations are the highest in the developed world. When companies have high taxes, there is less money for expansion, hiring, to invest in employees and pay shareholders.

Now, a flood of American companies have discovered a way out of paying the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world — 39.1 percent in state and federal taxes. And that doesn’t include the burden of taxes and penalties levied by the Affordable Care Act and other regulations of the past six years.

Dozens of U.S. corporations are taking their headquarters offshore or merging with foreign businesses, primarily in Europe, to reduce their tax burden.

Click here to read the full article.

Stefan Passantino Quoted in The National Law Journal

Posted in Political Law

MLA’s Stefan Passantino was quoted in The National Law Journal’s article, “Lobbyists Regain Seat At the Table.”

The suggested revision is intended to resolve the case, which the lobbyists brought in 2011 alleging the ban infringed their constitutional right to petition the government. Praised by good-government organizations and scorned by the lobbying community, Obama’s directive has barred federal agency heads from appointing federally registered lobbyists to hundreds of advisory boards and commissions.

“It’s clearly a revision whose time has come,” said McKenna Long & Aldridge partner Stefan Passantino, who leads his firm’s political-law team and represents lobbyists.

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In addition to a lawsuit, several lobbyists serving on advisory panels started to report that they were no longer lobbying after 2009. More than 20 members of 16 Industry Trade Advisory Committees deregistered following Eisen’s announcement, The Hill reported in February 2012.

“It was good politics,” Passantino said of the ban. “But it wasn’t good policy.”

Click here to read the full article.

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States

Posted in Health Policy

By Cindy Gillespie

Health Insurance Exchanges: State of the States update is our weekly report on Health Insurance Exchange developments.

This week, Massachusetts received approval from CMS to proceed with the development of their revised online health insurance exchange and Vermont announced that it would use a new IT vendor to finish building the Vermont Health Connect’s online system.

Government Health Programs Must Do More to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Posted in Health Policy

By Dennis SmithCindy GillespieElizabeth A. Ferrell, and Erin B. Sheppard.

The Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently released two audit reports assessing weaknesses in the information security systems of a Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) and contractors administering federal Medicare programs. The reports reflect a growing trend toward proactive audits of such cybersecurity controls by state and federal agencies.

The first audit report, “Weaknesses in Molina Medicaid Solutions’ Information System General Controls Over Idaho’s Medicaid Claims Processing System Increase Vulnerabilities,” focuses on the cybersecurity deficiencies uncovered during an audit of Idaho’s MMIS. The second report, “Review of Medicare Contractor Information Security Program Evaluations for Fiscal Year 2012,” details the results of information security audits of ten Medicare administration contractors, and concludes that the number of security gaps assessed for the ten analyzed contractors had increased since the prior fiscal year. For prime and subcontractors at both the federal and state level that operate healthcare information technology (“IT”) systems, both reports signal a growing trend away from a presumption of security for contractor IT systems and toward increasing the number of cybersecurity audits to verify security in advance of a cyber incident. Though focused on Medicaid and Medicare contractors, the level of scrutiny is likely to carry over to all healthcare IT contractors operating similar systems at either the state or federal level.

Click here to read the full McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP advisory.