What We’re Reading: MA BCBS Partners With Tufts; Medicaid Drug Price Audit; SC Passes Abortion Ban

Blue Cross Blue Shield in Massachusetts sets agreement with Tufts Medicine using equity benchmarks; drug prices covered by Medicaid to undergo yearly audit; South Carolina abortion ban headed to governor as Planned Parenthood announces national staff cutbacks to shift resources to the states.

Massachusetts BCBS Enters Equity-Based Contract With Tufts Medicine

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) has partnered with Tufts Medicine to create a value-based payment structure with equity benchmarks, according to Fierce Healthcare. Under this program, Tufts Medicine will be rewarded by BCBSMA for achieving specific goals related to reducing inequities in care for colorectal cancer screenings, diabetes care, hypertension, and child and adolescent well-care visits. The initiative aims to improve healthcare affordability, accessibility, and equity, and is part of BCBSMA's broader effort to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

CMS to Conduct Yearly Audit of Drug Prices in Medicaid

The Biden administration announced plans to conduct an annual audit of drug prices charged on high-cost prescriptions covered by Medicaid, according to The Associated Press. As part of the proposal, drug manufacturers would be required to provide proprietary and non-proprietary information to the CMS to support the prices they charge states for Medicaid coverage. Although CMS does not have the authority to enforce price changes, the initiative aims to address rising drug prices and improve transparency.

South Carolina Passes 6-Week Abortion Ban, Advocates Push Back

South Carolina’s Senate has approved a bill prohibiting abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy, significantly limiting access to the procedure in the state, according to The New York Times. The bill, which now awaits the signature of Republican Governor Henry McMaster, includes requirements such as 2 in-person doctor visits and ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. Abortion rights advocates plan to challenge the ban in court. Separately, Planned Parenthood announced that it will begin cutting back on staff at the national level to shift resources to state battlegrounds, according to The Hill.

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