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September 30, 2022

Around the nation: Biden administration debuts plan to end US hunger by 2030

Daily Briefing

    The Biden administration on Tuesday debuted its plan to end hunger in the United States by 2030, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, and Minnesota.

    • California: California's legislature late last month passed a bill that would allow regulators to penalize doctors for circulating disinformation or misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The legislation defines disinformation as a "misinformation that the licensee deliberately disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead." It defines misinformation as "false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific contrary to the standard of care." Under the measure, medical professionals who circulate Covid-19 misinformation would face disciplinary action from the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, which could result in them having their state license revoked or suspended for "unprofessional conduct." Notably, the measure would represent the first time a state moved to take legal action against medical professionals who spread false Covid-19 information. (Myers, New York Times, 9/29; Falconer, Axios, 8/30)
    • District of Columbia: The Biden administration on Tuesday debuted its plan to end hunger in the United States by 2030. Under the plan, the administration will work alongside Congress to give 9 million more children access to healthy school meals at no cost by 2032. To accomplish this, the administration will aim to provide benefits to help families purchase groceries during the summer break, and Congress will have to expand eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. "We're taking steps to try to make healthier options more readily available, and on the medical tailored meals piece, create a healthcare system that supports those healthy decisions. But we really are trying to foster environments that allow everyone to have access to food and to have access to healthy foods," a senior Biden administration official said. While the administration can take certain steps on its own, many of the ideas outlined in the plan will require Congress to pass legislation. (Gangitano, The Hill, 9/27; Weintraub, USA Today, 9/28; Bustillo, NPR, 9/27)
    • Minnesota: Federal Judge Carl J. Nichols earlier this month blocked the Justice Department's (DOJ) antitrust legal challenge to UnitedHealth Group's* (UHG) $13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare. In February, regulators determined that UHG's purchase of Change was anti-competitive, resulting in a several-day trial in August. In the trial, DOJ claimed that the acquisition would give UHG access to its rival health insurers' competitively sensitive data, along with access to any of Change's future innovations. Under Nichols' ruling, UHG was ordered to divest payment integrity group ClaimsXten to TPG Capital—a $2.2 billion sale UHG previously agreed to. While the ruling represents a win for UHG, it may present challenges for the Biden administration, Axios reports. (Bannow, STAT+, 9/19; Pringle, Axios, 9/19)

    *Advisory Board is a subsidiary of Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group. All Advisory Board research, expert perspectives, and recommendations remain independent.

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