Aetna-Humana merger would damage MA competition, analysis finds; CMS finalizes rule improving Medicaid prescription drug reimbursement;

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> A new analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress finds that the proposed merger between the health insurance companies Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. would greatly reduce market competition for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in the markets they serve. Announcement

> Hawaii lawmakers are introducing a bill that could make the state the first in the nation to offer long-term care benefits to seniors. The bill would provide eligible seniors with $70 per day and would allow them to pay, hire aides and help offset the cost of safety equipment, the Washington Post reports. Article

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has finalized a rule aimed at reforming the rebate and reimbursement systems for Medicaid prescription drugs, which it says could save federal and state governments an estimated $2.7 billion over five years. Announcement

Health IT News

> Disparities remain in health IT adoption among rural providers, and according to new research, rural providers have adopted Meaningful Use at about the same rate as urban providers; however, greater disparities persist between different rural practices. Article

Health Finance News

> There is an enormous variation in prices for identical healthcare services in Massachusetts, a finding that worried members of a special commission that studies the Bay State's healthcare policies. Article

And finally… Beauty is pain, people. Article