Friday Five: Government shutdown continues - Multiple programs seeing impact, including SNAP

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January 18, 2019
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about what’s affected by the federal government shutdown, prescription drug prices, healthcare trends for 2019, and a new government technology contract focused on artificial intelligence and automation technologies.

1. All of Congress’s ideas for bringing down prescription drug prices, explained

Consumers want action on prescription drug prices, and both Democratic and Republican members of Congress may be ready to make changes. In this article, Vox outlines the top seven ideas espoused by Congress to reduce drug prices including decreasing the time it takes to get generic drugs to the marketplace, capping out-of-pocket costs, and Medicare increasing its negotiating presence.

2. Payer, provider trends to watch in 2019

Healthcare Dive summarizes the anticipated healthcare trends for 2019, such as a continued investment in digital health technologies, a focus on both behavioral and population health, additional value-based care contracts, and growth in Medicaid managed care.

3. Food stamp recipients to get February benefits early because of federal government shutdown

Nearly 10% of groceries in the United States are purchased using SNAP benefits. Individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive the February allotment this week. WRAL reports the change is due to the federal government shutdown but warns that there will be no additional benefits distributed in February and funding for SNAP could run out before March.

4. HHS contract will offer AI tech, support to all of government

The federal government is requesting proposals for its Intelligent Automation/Artificial Intelligence Contract. According to NextGov, the five-year contract will include artificial intelligence and automation technologies and support services and is part of a broader effort to switch government employees to more high-value work. The contract is housed under the Department of Health and Human Services, but services will be available to multiple agencies.

5. The cascade of shutdown problems grows each week

The partial federal government shutdown, already the longest in history, continues. Some additional federal employees, who were originally furloughed, have been recalled to work, but still aren’t receiving paychecks. The Washington Post has compiled an eye-opening list of upcoming deadlines and effects of the shutdown by date. 

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