Yesterday, the California Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization approved a bill AB768 that would ban smokeless tobacco at the state’s major- and minor-league baseball venues. Before its advancement, the bill was amended to exempt traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. Click here for more information.

Noridian/JEMAC has posted the following updates to its website:  http://med.noridianmedicare.com/web/jeb

* MLN Connects Provider eNews:

Announcements–Newly Approved Drugs and Biologicals: Quarterly Provider Update for April 2015; CMS Accepting Suggestions for Potential PQRS Measures; Proposed Rule Outlines EHR Requirements for Providers for 2015-2017. Click here for more information.

An Urban Institute survey published last week finds that the rate of uninsured U.S. residents fell by 50% in California, Washington, D.C., and the other 28 states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the uninsured rate in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs dropped by about 30%. Click here for more information.

Obama Proposes That Medicare Be Given the Right to Negotiate the Cost of Drugs. Efforts to create precision medicines that use genetic information to aid treatment can cost well over $50,000 and as high as $311,000, raising issues for users and the Medicare system. Click here for more information.

Over the weekend, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted their annual report to Congress on the first year of Open Payments. Each year, CMS is required to submit a report to Congress summarizing the payments made by applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to physicians and teaching hospitals, as well as any penalties CMS assessed based on noncompliance with the program. The document is an interesting “inside-look” into CMS’s activity, and offers the industry an idea of where the agency is headed with Open Payments, including program implementation improvements, and, perhaps more importantly, where CMS is focusing their enforcement efforts.

Click here for more information.