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ACA Begins Year Two and Will the Medical Device Tax Finally Be Repealed?


IP Blog | Dave Melin | November 16, 2014

BioBlogWeeklyThis week in healthcare, Healthcare.gov begins its second year of open enrollment, ASCO announces a new CancerLinQ website and a new Clinical Affairs Department, and the ACA Medical Device Tax on industry could be repealed in January 2015.

ObamaCare exchange opens for second year of business

This weekend, Healthcare.gov began open enrollment in its exchange insurance plans for its second year. The online portal, which links to 37 state exchanges, is “significantly stronger” than it was last year, according to federal officials, but many are watching this opening with bated breath to see if this roll out will be as tumultuous as last year’s.

ASCO to Establish a Clinical Affairs Department to Provide Hands-on Assistance to Oncology Practices

ASCO announced this week that it would be forming a new Clinical Affairs Department to “provid[e] services, education, and resources to support oncology practices.” In their press release, ASCO said they would begin providing these services “by the end of 2014”.

Congressional Republicans move full speed ahead to nix medical device tax

Following a boost in seats after the recent mid-term elections, “Republicans in U.S. Congress are moving forward with plans to nix the medical device tax put in place two years ago under President Obama’s healthcare law.” The 2.3% excise tax, which is meant to help fund Obamacare, has been the subject of much opposition in both the House and Senate.

Costly cancer drugs may be cut from special funding list

In the UK, “more than 40 cancer drugs being paid for out of the government’s Cancer Drugs Fund are to be reassessed to decide if they are worth the money.” A panel will be convened in mid-December to decide whether to cut high-cost cancer drugs such as Kadcyla and Avastin.

ASCO unveils new CancerLinQ website

This week ASCO has announced a brand new website focused on CancerLinQ, the result of “assembling vast amounts of usable, searchable, real-world cancer information into a powerful database.”

Obama administration turns focus to marketing Healthcare.gov

With Healthcare.gov opening its virtual doors for a second year of enrollment, healthcare officials are using what they learned the first time around to launch a “a more precise and targeted marketing strategy this year.”

Non-Profit Blues Plans Face Big Hurdles in Post-ACA World: Report (with Table: Capital Expenditure Comparisons Between Blues, National Plans)

In a recent report, analysts warn that “single-state, non-profit and mutual Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans may be missing out on vital business opportunities because of the expectations of state regulators and their decades-old status as legacy health insurance providers.”

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