The Washington Report
A Note to Washington Report Subscribers—Holiday Publication Schedule
The Washington Report will not be published on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, or Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Publication will resume on January 9, 2019. Happy holidays and New Year!
ACA Ruled Unconstitutional by District Court Judge
On December 14, 2018, a U.S. district court judge issued a ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional. For additional information on this decision, please refer to the Aon bulletin District Court Judge Strikes Down ACA as Unconstitutional in the Publications section.
HHS Publishes RFI Seeking Public Input on Improving Care Coordination and Reducing Regulatory Burdens of HIPAA Rules
On December 12, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the public on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules, especially the HIPAA Privacy Rule, could be modified to “further the HHS Secretary’s goal of promoting coordinated, value-based healthcare.” According to the HHS, the HIPAA Rules were developed to protect individuals’ health information privacy and security interests, while permitting information sharing needed for important purposes. However, in recent years, the HHS “has heard calls to revisit aspects of the Rules that may limit or discourage information sharing needed for coordinated care or to facilitate the transformation to value-based health care.”
In addition to requesting broad input on the HIPAA Rules, the RFI also seeks comments on specific areas of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, including:
- Encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination;
- Facilitating parental involvement in care;
- Addressing the opioid crisis and serious mental illness;
- Accounting for disclosures of protected health information for treatment, payment, and health care operations as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act; and
- Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices.
Comments on the RFI are due by February 12, 2019.
The HHS news release is available here.
The RFI is available here.
IRS Releases Standard Mileage Rates
On December 14, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2019-2, which provides the optional standard mileage rates for 2019 for taxpayers to use in computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving expense purposes. The Notice also provides the amount taxpayers must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.
IRS Notice 2019-2 is available here.
District Court Judge Strikes Down ACA as Unconstitutional
It’s déjà vu all over again for employer health care plans and legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
On December 14, 2018, a U.S. district court judge issued a ruling striking down the ACA as unconstitutional, putting health care reform back on the front burner as the House and Senate, which will be controlled by different political parties, prepare to convene in January 2019.
The Aon bulletin, which provides a brief overview of the decision, is available here.
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