As 2022 comes to a close, we’ve compiled the top healthcare headlines from December to help busy healthcare marketing and PR professionals stay up to date.

Numerous regulatory stories make up this month’s headlines including The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) bid to implement electronic prior authorization systems and the reduction of the number of plans insurers can offer through the ACA Marketplace. Also, as we round out the year, surveys and studies show that people are deferring care as a result of rising healthcare costs.



Congress unveils $1.7T spending bill with health provisions
Lawmakers proposed a roughly $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill to fund the U.S. government through most of 2023. The package would extend both Medicare telehealth and acute hospital at home waivers and flexibilities implemented during the pandemic through 2024.

CMS proposes certain payers implement electronic prior authorization systems by 2026
The proposed rule would mandate the implementation of electronic prior authorization systems by 2026. It would also require payers and states to streamline the prior authorization process in an effort to reduce physician administrative burden.

CMS proposes benefits, payment rules for 2024 ACA plans
To make it easier for consumers to pick a plan, CMS released a proposed rule for the 2024 coverage year which would reduce the number of Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans an insurer can offer to two per metal tier level.



Will CVS, Amazon and Walgreens deals shift the U.S. healthcare system to a value-based care model?
Healthcare disruptors like CVS, Amazon and Walgreens tapping into the growing value-based care model could shift the paradigm into prioritizing patient health, leading to reduced hospital time for patients.

Epic research shows telehealth efficacy, makes case for more reimbursement
In a study of 35 million telehealth visits between March 2020 and May 2022, patients did not require an in-person visit within 90 days of online appointments, thus determining that telehealth appointments are not instances of duplicated care.



Amgen plans to buy Horizon Therapeutics in $27.8B deal
Amgen brought an end to the 2022 year with the biggest acquisition in the healthcare sector, according to analysts. Its $27.8 billion deal to purchase Horizon Therapeutics would expand Amgen’s offerings of drugs for patients suffering from rare diseases.



CMS: National health spending grew by 2.7% in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects linger
In 2021, health spending grew 2.7%, reaching $4.3 trillion, according to the CMS annual National Health Expenditures report. This is a decrease from 2020 spending, which increased 10.7% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rising costs replace COVID-19 as top reason for deferring care
According to Qualtrics, the end of the pandemic has not brought an end of deferred care. After two years of forgoing healthcare due to pandemic-related concerns, rising cost is now the top reason, especially when it comes to mental health, nutrition and preventive care.