RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 01/05/2016

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Walk-in Health Clinics Grow Unregulated
Michael Ollove, Stateline
When walk-in health clinics started spreading rapidly in the mid-2000s, the nation’s biggest and most prestigious medical organizations voiced objections. They raised concerns about patient safety, gaps in patients’ medical records, conflicts of interest and disruptions of the relationship between patients and their doctors.

Insurer Megamergers Not All Wrapped Up
Shelby Livingston, Biz Ins.
While shareholders for each of the companies have given the deals the green light and their CEOs maintain confidence in closing by the second half of 2016, experts say the transactions are far from a sure thing.

Even Insured Often Face Crushing Medical Debt
Sanger-Katz, Upshot
The number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million since 2013, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act. But a new survey, the first detailed study of Americans struggling with medical bills, shows that insurance often fails as a safety net.

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Platinum Plans Increasingly Rare on Marketplaces
Andy Miller, GHN
Just 3 percent of Americans in the federal exchange states chose a Platinum plan on those exchanges for 2015, down from 4 percent the year before, HHS reported in March. Nationally, an average consumer can select from an average of two Platinum plans in a county in 2016, down from four in previous years, the agency reported in October.

New Conn. Rules on Cost Transparency
Arielle Levin Becker, CT Mirror
Hospital officials in Connecticut say they’re working to ensure they comply with the new law, but say meeting some of its requirements is more complicated than it might sound.

Pharmacies Seek Medicare Pay for Vaccinations
Bruce Japsen, Forbes
As the nation’s retail pharmacies move deeper into the business of providing healthcare services, they now want pharmacists to be paid by Medicare to immunize the nation’s seniors.

CBO: ACA Repeal Bill Would Save $516 Billion
Sarah Ferris, The Hill
A GOP-led effort to repeal the biggest parts of ObamaCare would cost about $42 billion less than previously expected, saving more than a half-trillion dollars over a decade, the congressional budget scorekeeper said Monday.

New EHR Law Offers Additional Flexibility
Joseph Conn, Modern HC
A bill signed into law last month gave the CMS, hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals, more flexibility in filing and processing exemptions from the meaningful-use requirements of the federal EHR incentive payment program.

Docs Can Report Mentally Ill under Gun Control Rule
Pittman, Politico
Delivering on its promise to deliver "common sense" gun control, the Obama administration on Monday finalized a rule that enables health care providers to report the names of mentally ill patients to an FBI firearms background check system.

HELP Committee Schedules Vote on FDA Nominee
McIntire, Morn. Con.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will vote on the confirmation of Robert Califf as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 12, according to a release.

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