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News Article | January 19, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

President-elect Donald Trump has been pretty vocal that he intends to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a better healthcare plan that will offer "insurance for everybody." This move prompted Bernie Sanders to assert that the decision could lead to nearly 36,000 deaths in the U.S. Now according to reports, the "repeal and delay" strategy of the incoming U.S. government could cost millions of people their health insurance. According to an analysis conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), people who have insured for health under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly called Obamacare, would not be able to receive any coverage after one year. The forecasts by the CBO are based on its evaluations of a bill that the Republicans passed but was vetoed in 2015 by Obama. The bill led to a part repeal of the ACA and it eliminated penalties for individuals who did not have any health insurance. The CBO is of the belief that the removal of the penalty could lead to an increase in the uninsured people number over time. "The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill. Later, after the elimination of the ACA's expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026," notes CBO. The analysis shares that a repeal of the ACA would impact all Americans, even those who do not lose the health insurance. Per the analysis, the first year of the repeal sans a replacement would lead to premiums rising by nearly 20 percent to 25 percent over the levels that have been estimated for ACA. The CBO report also divulged that with no government mandate necessitating people to purchase insurance, a few companies may altogether stop offering health insurance plans.  As a result, nearly 10 percent of the American population may be residing in areas that do not have any insurer so that they can purchase insurance coverage. Alarmingly, come 2026, this number is expected to grow 75 percent. Despite steps for a partial repeal being taken by the Republicans, the marketplaces which have been established for Obamacare are still functional. However, the enrolment for the same ends on Jan. 31, 2017, barring some exceptions. Trump has asserted that he is looking to draft policies that are less expensive and it remains to be seen when these would come in to affect, along with the Medicare benefits for Americans. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

ez1099 2016 software includes a variety of 1098 forms for customer accommodation. Halfpricesoft.com has included forms 1098, 1098C, 1098E, and 1098 for small to mid sized business owners and tax preparers to easily prepare, print, and mail or efile (advanced version only) forms with little to no accounting experience. “The latest ez1099 2016 version software is now available with multiple 1098 forms for printing accommodation.” Dr. Ge, founder of Halfpricesoft.com says. For further clarification on the the different types of 1098 forms included in the application: Form 1098 is a mortgage interest statement, 1098-C is for contributions of motor vehicles, boats and airplanes, 1098-E is a student loan interest statement and 1098-T is a tuition statement. A data import feature is available within the ez1099 2016 tax preparation software. In addition to this time saving feature, there are also many other ways to save time and money when using this innovative application. Features included are unlimited form printing capability, unlimited companies accepted, a quick start guide for easy setup, as well as no cost customer support. All of this together means great savings and ease of use for new and returning customers. ez1099 software also assists in compiling, printing and e-filing these other IRS forms: W2G, 1099-IOD, 1097BTC, 1098s (1098, 1098C, 1098E, 1098 T), 1099s (1099A, 1099B, 1099C, 1099CAP, 1099DIV, 1099G, 1099H, 1099INT, 1099LTC, 1099MISC, 1099OID, 1099PATR, 1099Q, 1099R, 1099S, 1099SA), 5498s(5498, 5498ESA, 5498SA), 8935, 3921, 3922, 1096. This 1099 tax form printing software can print recipient copies on white paper. Recipient forms can also be printed in PDF format (advanced version required) to deliver by e-mail. So Ez1099 software will undoubtedly save users money on preprinted forms and allows for quicker and more flexible filing. Since IRS does not certify substitute 1099 forms, customers should print IRS copy on red-ink printed form or they can generate the efile document that can be uploaded to IRS site. ez1099 is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows NT, XP, Me, 2000, 2003, Vista system, 7, 8, and MAC machine installed with Virtual Machine or Parallels. The new import feature allows 1099 forms to process even quicker. The cost is only $79 per installation for the basic version of ez1099 Software and $139 per installation for the advanced version with bulk printing feature, import feature, PDF file creation and electronic filing capability, ez1099 is affordable for any size business. As always, customers are encouraged to download and try ez1099 without any risk, cost or obligation at http://halfpricesoft.com/1099-software-free-download.asp for evaluation and to ensure it meets or exceeds their needs before purchasing. The options featured in the latest version ez1099 software include but are not limited to: 1- ez1099 supports tax forms 1099s, 1098s, 5498s, W2G, 1097BTC, 8935, 3921, 3922 and 1096 2- ez1099 supports white paper printing for recipient copies 3- Saves valuable time by eliminating the usual extensive learning curve – ez1099 is designed to be simple and intuitive, allowing users to get started immediately 4- Quick data import feature 5- Supports compiling and saving form data for later use and modification 6- Supports unlimited accounts and unlimited recipients at no additional charge 7- Go green with optional PDF document converting and e-file (electronic filing) features 8- Prices start at $79 making ez1099 among the lowest priced, full-featured software available 9- No cost customer support with live chat, email and remote access 10- Fill tax data on pre-printed forms Halfpricesoft.com welcomes all customers to start the non-obligation free test drive today at http://www.halfpricesoft.com/1099_software.asp About halfpricesoft.com Ez1099 Software with Form 1099s printing and e-filing capability is developed and distributed by Halfpricesoft.com. Based in Louisville, Ky., the software firm is committed to developing financial software for small businesses that is affordable and easy to use. Additional software titles available from Halfpricesoft.com include ezPaycheck, ezAccounting, ez 1095 ACA Software, zW2, ezCheckPrinting, ezCheckPersonal, ezACH Deposit and ezTimeSheet software.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

In its 11th year, the annual RISE Nashville Summit is the healthcare industry’s premier event addressing Risk Adjustment, Stars, Quality Management, financial compliance, care management, performance analytics, and engagement strategies. During the workshop, Pulse8’s industry experts and health plan partners will explore integrative technologies for successful risk and quality programs, including the following: John Criswell, CEO of Pulse8, remarked, “We are privileged to be joined with our customers in the discussion and education on the best approaches to value-based payments. The expansion and shift in value-based payments creates an exponentially larger market requiring different approaches to achieve success.” Visit Pulse8 at booth # 9 to speak with subject matter experts and leaders from the team. To schedule a meeting or demo, please email us at info(at)pulse8.com About Pulse8 Pulse8 is the only Healthcare Analytics and Technology Company delivering complete visibility into the efficacy of your Risk Adjustment and Quality Management programs. We enable health plans and at-risk providers to achieve the greatest financial impact in the ACA Commercial, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid markets. By combining advanced analytic methodologies with extensive health plan experience, Pulse8 has developed a suite of uniquely pragmatic solutions that are revolutionizing risk adjustment and quality. Pulse8’s flexible business intelligence tools offer real-time visibility into member and provider activities so our clients can apply the most cost-effective and appropriate interventions for closing gaps in documentation, coding, and quality. For more company information, please contact Scott Filiault at (732) 570-9095 or scott.filiault(at)pulse8.com. Please visit us at http://www.Pulse8.com, and follow us on Twitter @Pulse8News. About RISE (Resource Initiative and Society for Education) RISE is the first national association totally dedicated to enabling healthcare professionals working in organizations and aspiring to meet the challenges of the emerging landscape of accountable care and health care reform. We strive to serve our members on four fronts: Education, Industry Intelligence, Networking and Career Development.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Forty-five percent of Medicare beneficiaries say they spend more than one-third of their Social Security benefits on healthcare costs, according to a recent survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “A complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), without a replacement of the Medicare provisions, would force most older Americans to spend a much bigger percentage of their Social Security income on Medicare costs in the near future,” says TSCL’s senior policy analyst, Jessie Gibbons. The percentage of Social Security that people spend on healthcare costs in retirement is important. The majority of retired households, 60 percent, depend on Social Security for at least half of their income. “A complete repeal of the ACA would hit retired and disabled Americans — people who can afford it the least— with steep increases in Medicare premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs,” Gibbons explains. “Meanwhile the repeal would give the nation’s wealthiest households a generous tax break because it eliminates new Medicare revenues provided under the ACA which affect only the highest income taxpayers,” Gibbons points out. According to annual surveys conducted by TSCL, the portion of Social Security benefits that older Americans report spending on Medicare and other medical costs has spiked since 2014. That year, only 26 percent of survey participants said they spent more than one-third of their Social Security benefit on healthcare costs versus the 45 percent in 2016. “We believe this illustrates the impact of extremely low growth in cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) over the period,” Gibbons says. “People wind up spending a bigger share of their Social Security on medical costs,” she notes. Inflation was so low in 2015, that the COLA for 2016 was zero. Yet according to TSCL’s survey, retirees reported that their costs continued to grow. Some 72 percent of survey participants reported that their monthly expenses grew by more than $79 in 2015. Not only are healthcare costs, especially prescription drugs, rising several times faster than overall inflation, but retired and disabled Medicare beneficiaries must spend more on services and prescriptions as their health conditions worsen with age. TSCL believes it’s time to hit the brakes on a hasty repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “Older Americans have the right to know how Congress intends to replace the Medicare benefits that would be repealed,” Gibbons says. “We believe that more thought needs to be given to ensuring that the oldest and sickest Americans will continue to have access to affordable Medicare prescription drugs and other benefits,” she says. “Too many people are discovering that healthcare costs are taking an unsustainable portion of their Social Security today. An outright repeal of the ACA without a suitable replacement for Medicare benefits would shoulder tens of millions of retirees with bigger costs and less coverage,” Gibbons adds. Some 98 percent of TSCL survey participants are politically active, registered voters. To learn more and to participate in TSCL surveys, visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org. With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.


BOCA RATON, Fla., March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and do not have to pay for 15 preventive screenings recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Yet, despite...


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

SmartLinx Solutions has won a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Innovation in Customer Service - Computer Industries category in the 11th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. The award for “Total Customer Service Modernization” marks the second consecutive year SmartLinx has captured a coveted Stevie Award. The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world’s top honors for customer service, contact center, business development and sales professionals. The Stevie Awards organizes several of the world’s leading business awards programs including the prestigious American Business Awards℠ and International Business Awards℠. The awards were presented during a gala banquet on Friday, February 24 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. More than 650 executives from around the world attended. More than 2,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were evaluated in this year’s competition, an increase of 10% over 2016. Finalists were determined by the average scores of 77 professionals worldwide, acting as preliminary judges. Entries were considered in 61 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Consulting Practice of the Year; more than 53 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Business Development Achievement of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers. More than 75 members of several specialized judging committees determined the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging earlier this month. Finalists were determined by another 77 judges. “The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service continues to be among the most competitive and fastest-growing of our awards programs,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards. “The growth of the program illustrates the importance of the functions highlighted – sales, business development and customer service – to successful enterprises of all types, and how integral recognition in these domains are to building and maintaining corporate reputations.” “Customer expectations are on the rise,” said Blake Deakin, VP of Client Services, “and they should be. Enterprise SaaS companies are continuing to learn a tough lesson – that competing with over-emphasis on price and capability is a race to the bottom. We see amazing customer service continue to be a crucial differentiator and that’s why we’ve invested heavily in technologies to improve the responsiveness and quality of the customer experience. We’re honored to be recognized with a Bronze Stevie Award.” Details about the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and the list of Stevie winners in all categories are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/sales. About SmartLinx Solutions SmartLinx Solutions, the two-time Stevie® award winner, has helped organizations forever transform their business and distinguish their employer and consumer brands with its integrated, real-time workforce management solutions, since 2000. Their award-winning, cloud-based WorkLinx™ product suite enables mobility-driven employee engagement, drives proactive regulatory compliance management, and delivers permanent operational advantage. SmartLinx serves global clients with staff schedule optimization, time and attendance, human resources, payroll, employee self-service, business analytics, licensing and training management, ACA compliance management, mobility, and time clock solutions. For more information, visit http://www.smartlinxsolutions.com or call +1-877-501-1310. About The Stevie Awards Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com. Sponsors and supporters of the 11th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships, Inc. and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.


News Article | January 28, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A random sample survey carried out on 426 primary care physicians by a team of researchers suggests that the majority of them don't support repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) entirely. Additionally, the percentage of those who would repeal it entirely is lower than the one of the general public. According to the results of the study, published Jan. 25, in the New England Journal of Medicine, 15 percent of the respondents were in favor of the complete repeal of the act. Among the physicians who reported having voted for Trump, no more than 37.9 percent agreed to the complete repeal of ACA. The subjects of the research were chosen from the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile, a database with more than 1.4 million medical practitioners, residents, and students from across the country. In response to the question of what they wanted the federal policymakers to do with the ACA, only 15 percent wanted it completely repealed, which is lower than the 26 percent of the general population of the United States in favor for its repeal, as suggested by a poll conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation. On the question regarding aspects of the ACA in its current form, almost all of the physicians surveyed agreed to the insurance-market regulations prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher prices for preexisting conditions. According to the survey answers, 91 percent of the physicians marked this as "very important" or "somewhat important" for the overall improvement of the population's health. There is a gap when it comes to the support between provisions that allow people to have insurance without respect to preexisting conditions, as well as the mechanisms of making sure that both sick people and healthy people enroll in coverage. According to these results, there's an underlying necessity to educate health care providers, as well as the public, when it comes to these provisions not being separated. The policies not addressing adverse selection would lead to an increase in the costs of health insurance. "What we heard is that the majority of primary care physicians are open to changes in the law but overwhelmingly opposed full repeal," noted Craig Pollack, M.D., M.H.S., lead author of the research. According to a fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services, as many as 105 million Americans with an employer or individual market coverage had a lifetime limit on their health insurance policy before the ACA. The policy prohibits annual and lifetime limits on policies so that all Americans who have employer plans also have coverage whenever in need. Young adults have also benefited from the ACA provision, which allows children to remain on their parents' health insurance up to the age of 26. "Insurers must now spend at least 80 cents of premium dollars on health care, rather than administrative costs, or else give consumers a refund. Americans with employer coverage have received more than $1 billion in insurance refunds to date," also notes the fact sheet. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

According to a new market research report "Population Health Management Market By Component (Software, Services), End User (Healthcare Providers, Healthcare Payers, Employer Groups, Government Bodies), Mode of Delivery (Web-based, Cloud-based, On-premise), Region - Global Forecast to 2021" published by MarketsandMarkets, this report studies the global market for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This market is expected to reach USD 42.54 Billion by 2021 from USD 13.85 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 25.2%. Browse 65 market data Tables and 34 Figures spread through 146 Pages and in-depth TOC on "Population Health Management Market" Early buyers will receive 10% customization on this report. The global population health management market is segmented on the basis of component, mode of delivery, end user, and region. Based on component, the Population Health Management market is categorized into software and services. The software segment is expected to command the largest share of the global population health management market in 2016. PHM software includes web-based and cloud-based solutions. The advantage of these solutions is that the service provider maintains and upgrades the software and eliminates the buyer's responsibility of server support and maintenance, which enables the buyer to focus on their core business. On the basis of end user, the global population health management market is segmented into healthcare providers, healthcare payers, employer groups, and government bodies. In 2016, the healthcare providers segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the global population health management market. The large share of this segment is attributed to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in the U.S. (which is aimed at lowering healthcare costs by making use of novel solutions such as population health management) as well as the high demand for PHM solutions among healthcare providers owing to various benefits offered by these solutions. The Medicare initiative to penalize hospitals for unnecessary readmissions is another factor contributing to the growth of this market segment. On the basis of region, the global market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. In 2016, North America is poised to account for the largest share of the population health management market, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. However, the Asia-Pacific market is slated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Factors such as the implementation of a number of PHM programs to improve population health in Australia, growing medical tourism in Asia, rapidly growing healthcare industry in India, efforts taken to digitalize the healthcare system in China, investments and reforms to modernize China's healthcare infrastructure, and new outline by Japan's information and communication technology fund are driving the population health management market in the Asia-Pacific region. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the U.S., government support for the prevention of diseases and adoption of HCIT, growth in geriatric population and the subsequent increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, need for affordable treatment options due to the rising healthcare costs, and advancing IT and big data capabilities are expected to drive the growth of the market in the coming years. Cerner Corporation (U.S.), McKesson Corporation (U.S.), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Inc. (U.S.), Healthagen, LLC. (U.S.), OptumHealth (U.S.), IBM Corporation (U.S.), Epic Corporation, Inc. (U.S.), Conifer Health Solutions, LLC (U.S.), Health Catalyst, LLC (U.S.), Wellcentive, Inc. (U.S.), i2i Population Health (U.S.), and Verscend Technologies, Inc. (U.S.) are some of the key players in the Population Health Management Market. Patient Engagement Solutions Market by Component (Hardware, Software & Services), Delivery mode (On-Premise, Web & Cloud), End User (Provider & Payer), Applications (Home Health, Financial Health), Therapeutic Area - Global Forecast to 2020 MarketsandMarkets is the largest market research firm worldwide in terms of annually published premium market research reports. Serving 1700 global fortune enterprises with more than 1200 premium studies in a year, M&M is catering to a multitude of clients across 8 different industrial verticals. We specialize in consulting assignments and business research across high growth markets, cutting edge technologies and newer applications. Our 850 fulltime analyst and SMEs at MarketsandMarkets are tracking global high growth markets following the "Growth Engagement Model - GEM". The GEM aims at proactive collaboration with the clients to identify new opportunities, identify most important customers, write "Attack, avoid and defend" strategies, identify sources of incremental revenues for both the company and its competitors. M&M's flagship competitive intelligence and market research platform, "RT" connects over 200,000 markets and entire value chains for deeper understanding of the unmet insights along with market sizing and forecasts of niche markets. The new included chapters on Methodology and Benchmarking presented with high quality analytical infographics in our reports gives complete visibility of how the numbers have been arrived and defend the accuracy of the numbers. We at MarketsandMarkets are inspired to help our clients grow by providing apt business insight with our huge market intelligence repository. Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/company/marketsandmarkets


News Article | February 26, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

People who could not get into the event because of space limits, hold signs for their cause outside a town hall meeting for constituents hosted by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Randall Hill NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Tim Scott faced a quandary on Saturday in hosting his town hall: he promised to meet with his South Carolina constituents, but he wanted to avoid the kind of adversarial free-for-all so many Republicans encountered this week. Scott decided to ban placards from his North Charlestown meeting in hopes of averting the raucousness that erupted at dozens of town halls during the first congressional recess of Donald Trump's month-old presidency. The senator also required the crowd submit questions in writing ahead of time after other Republican lawmakers faced a wave of anger on issues ranging from Trump's immigration and healthcare policies to the president's ties to Russia. Despite Scott's precautions, arguments broke out and constituents told one another to shut up, though many in the audience - mostly white and over the age of 50 - said the senator remained respectful and sincere. And it never degenerated into an all-out shouting match. Scott, the only African-American in the U.S. Senate, began his town hall by pulling slips of paper from a box and reading the questions aloud. But the overflow audience of 300, evenly divided between Trump opponents and supporters, reacted with loud boos and cheers, even before he could begin to answer. To a question about a rise in hate crimes, Scott said the trend predates the president's campaign. "We can blame Trump for a lot of things but I don't think we can blame him for this one," he said, following a pattern of distancing himself from Trump without directly criticizing him. "Some people have come to the conclusion that this president has already failed," Scott said. "I hope that most of us, whether you voted for him or not, hope that he succeeds." When asked about Trump's repeated denunciations of the media, Scott said he believed the press was more biased than in the past. Even so, he said, "I do not believe the press is an enemy to the American people," a phrase coined by the president. Still, the meeting's format started to break down almost from the outset, with the audience shouting asides, while others tried to silence them. Scott answered some of the comments, but if he was interrupted, he tried to talk over the offender. The confrontational tone of this week's town halls is part of a tide of anti-Trump protests, marches and rallies that show little sign of abating just over a month into the new administration. The anti-Trump energy has prompted talk of a liberal-style Tea Party movement, in reference to the protests in 2009 that helped reshape the Republican Party and arguably laid the groundwork for Trump's surprise electoral victory last year. At Scott's town hall, the senator did allow a mother to stand up and tell her story. She said one of her two premature children died and the other was 6 years old with medical bills totaling more than $2 million, she said tearfully. "The Affordable Care Act is imperfect but it is a good law. It saved my family," she said to a standing ovation, referring to the health care program known as Obamacare. "That's a heartbreaking story," Scott said, pointing out that he chose ACA coverage for himself and his staff. Even so, "Obamacare is not sustainable." The session almost broke down when a man stood up and faced the crowd as audience members were peppering Scott with loud comments. "Let the man answer the question," the man said on the senator's behalf. "Sit down and shut up." Two men who wore red "Make America Great Again" hats clapped loudly. Arguments broke out in the crowd. "I know we prefer to blame Trump for our incivility," he said. "Let me ask, if we want to continue this conversation, that we do so in a way that no one feels threatened." His admonitions appeared to work. Order was eventually restored, and Scott gave up on picking questions from the box and started calling on audience members if they raised their hands. The session ended on a relatively civil note.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

An expert panel convened in New York City on Tuesday at the BIO CEO and Investor Conference to discuss public health policy under the new Administration and what it might mean for the biotech industry. To start things off, moderator Susan Peschin, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, said that the discussion would take a look at what is likely to happen, and separate it from the hype that has grabbed news headlines. Two topics that panelists dove into were the Affordable Care Act, and thoughts on a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. Overall the industry experts seemed to agree that a piece of legislation repealing the ACA will pass in 2017, but all were cautious with predictions as to what form it would take. Alex Azar II, Chairman of Seraphim Strategies LLC, former president of Lilly USA, and former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2005 to 2007, said that he believes there’s been a broad mischaracterization as to what the debate is over healthcare. There is a responsibility to get healthcare to those who can’t afford it, he said, but the question is over how to go about that. “Some people in my industry disagree with the path Obama took, but it doesn’t mean we don’t believe people should have insurance,” Azar said. Straight repeal of the ACA won’t be acceptable without a replacement, in Azar’s eyes, a sentiment many of the panelists echoed. Panelist Jeanne Haggerty, senior vice president of Federal Government Relations for Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) said that there’s currently a lot of disagreement about the path forward for ACA repeal and replace, and she thinks it’s likely we’ll see a number of hearings and potential mark ups on smaller bills.  Congress could potentially keep moving smaller pieces of legislation through one at a time, and then eventually package together. “Most republican leadership are feeling the heat of constituencies that don’t fully understand repealing and replacing won’t leave people without health insurance,” Haggerty said. Azar noted that it’s important to remember when thinking about repeal and replace that there is a “prime directive for politicians – to get re-elected.” On Thursday senior House Republicans revealed a preliminary outline of healthcare overhaul.  It involves a revamped Medicaid program for the poor, tax breaks to help people pay doctors’ bills and federally subsidized state pools to support those with costly medical conditions in buying insurance, the Associated Press reported. Panelist Johnathan Leff, partner at Deerfield Management and Chairman of the Deerfield Institute, gave some insight into what kind of implications repeal without a clear replacement would have on investments in the biotech industry.  While it’s fairly evident that there will be some kind of bill repealing ACA, Leff said, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Investors, especially in the biotech world where investments are made over a long period of time, don’t like uncertainty, according to Leff. Uncertainty can have a very negative impact on investments, Leff said and in his eyes “the right way to do it is replace when you repeal.” As long as legislation is rolled out in a way that people can see changes coming, it will be better from an investor point of view, he said. Leff is optimistic that “reason will prevail” and that people won’t dismantle what is in place without knowing what to replace it with.  However, he noted that in this environment with the current Administration there’s always a chance that won’t happen. He said he replace and repeal will hopefully be less disruptive than some other recent changes, such as Trump’s temporary immigration ban. Bryan Rye, a Senior Health Policy Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence used an analogy about replacing a bridge. “You don’t just blow up the bridge, you provide temporary support,” he said. If the ACA was working as well as promised, Hilary Clinton might be president, Rye said, noting that there were not enough young healthy people in exchanges and insurers were pulling out. He expects that in new legislation there will be more emphasis on HSA’s, and no mandates, or at least penalties associated with them will go away. He does not think the process will be an easy one. “Don’t expect for it to be a kumbaya between republicans and democrats,” Rye said. FDA implications and thoughts on safety and efficacy policy issues The general consensus with the panel was that potential changes at the FDA could have a big impact on biotech, both in medical advances and investment climate. “In some ways it feels like an existential moment for the FDA,” Leff said. He noted that some of the people who have been rumored candidates for FDA commissioner have made statements that drugs should not be regulated for efficacy. “The FDA for the last 40 years has been about regulating efficacy and safety, if that were to change it would make it fundamentally different to how we think about developing and making drugs,” Leff said. A major change like that would have a “very very negative impact” on biotech investment, Leff explained. He said that in his own informal poll of talking to people in the industry gave him the sense that the current FDA environment works quite well, and that everyone has designed activity in line with the framework that’s been in place. Some people are unhappy with certain aspects of the FDA, Leff admitted, but said those were micro areas of concern.  It would become exceedingly difficult to invest in science-driven biotechnology if the need to test efficacy was eliminated, Leff said and would make most biotech executives nervous. “Throwing out the idea of drug regulation is a very dangerous idea,” Leff said, and emphasized that making policy makers understand that is very important. Good policy would work to continue to improve the process, such as improvement in clinical trial design. Leff pointed out that President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, is someone who doesn’t fundamentally believe in the need for the agency.  Some people think that by appointing a person who questions the underlying mission of that agency that they are pursuing a pro-growth agenda, because there are unnecessary regulations that prohibit development – however the opposite is true in biotech, Leff said. He wants to see an FDA commissioner appointed that believes in the basic mission of the agency. Haggerty was also concerned over stopping the regulation of efficacy by the FDA, noting it is an important part of the drug approval process. She said it’s BIO’s job to educate people going into the FDA about changes that have happened in 21st century cures, such as increased biomarkers. Another goal of the organization is to make sure the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) is reauthorized when it is set to expire this September.  PDUFA was a law passed by Congress in 1992 which allows the FDA to collect fees from drug manufactures to fund the new drug approval process, and must be reauthorized every five years. Keeping the agreement intact is a primary objective for the organization, Haggerty said. Ultimately, it’s about making sure patients get access to therapies they need without disrupting the market, Haggerty said. In a time of uncertainty, the biotech industry will continue to watch any new developments closely.

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