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Budget

February 17, 2012 | Daily News

Medicare would be transformed into a premium support system that relies on competition between private plans and Medicare fee-for-service to keep costs low under legislation unveiled Thursday (Feb. 16) by GOP Sens. Richard Burr (NC) and Tom Coburn (OK) that encompasses elements of several recent and longstanding Medicare reform proposals. But the new plan differs in that it would implement the major changes in 2016 rather than in 2022.

February 17, 2012 | Daily News

The Obama administration is calling on lawmakers to expand the health reform law's small business tax credit by increasing eligibility to additional businesses, adopting a more generous phase-out schedule and streamlining the rules governing the credit, but some small business representatives are not convinced the proposal would do enough to increase participation in the underutilized program. Administration officials said Thursday (Feb.

February 15, 2012 | Daily News

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday (Feb. 15) sought to emphasize that much of the CMS funding bump in the president’s fiscal 2013 budget that will be used to implement insurance exchanges goes toward “one-time costs” for the federally facilitated exchange, after Senate Finance Committee members asked during a hearing about the funding and states’ progress in setting up the new insurance marketplaces.

February 15, 2012 | Daily News

Conferees are almost done with a deal that would likely provide a Medicare physician payment patch for only 10 months, according to House Republicans leaving a caucus meeting Tuesday night (Feb. 14) at which they discussed a draft of the deal. Physician lobbyists also hear the patch will likely be paid for by lowering Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) adjustment payments, reducing bad debt payments to hospitals, and reducing the health law's prevention fund. House Republicans would not confirm those pay-fors.

February 14, 2012 | Daily News

The Medicare and Medicaid provider payment cuts proposed by the president were quickly assailed by hospital and nursing home groups, which charged the proposals would devastate industries already beaten by a weak economy and small margins and could threaten access to care for the nation's most vulnerable residents. The cuts generally hew to those advanced by the White House during deficit reduction talks in September, but several policies now have more savings attached, which officials attribute to the new budget window.

February 14, 2012 | Daily News

A White House budget proposal to save $140 million over 10 years through prepayment review or prior authorization for power wheelchairs came as a surprise to industry as CMS has already scrapped the prepay phase of a recently revived demonstration. The White House power wheelchair proposal, which an industry source tells Inside Health Policy is outdated, is one of 16 HHS policies estimated to save $3.6 billion over 10 years by reducing fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid.

February 14, 2012 | Daily News

The Obama administration is proposing a new user fee to fund an FDA program that approves new food packaging, one of a handful of new fees the agency is considering to supplement stagnant appropriated funds for fiscal year 2013, with the money providing a stable resource for the program while also allowing the agency to craft guidance on nanotechnology and endocrine active chemicals. One industry attorney said that the nearly $5 million in proposed fees could be “prohibitively expensive” for companies, adding that the idea likely won't garner interest on Capitol Hill.

February 14, 2012 | Daily News

The president’s budget proposal puts the 10-year cost of replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula at $429 billion -- compared with the $316 billion estimate by the Congressional Budget Office -- which a physician lobbyist said indicates that the White House plans to increase Medicare physician pay and not just freeze it for a decade. The budget came out as House Republicans angered congressional Democrats by proposing to separate SGR talks from conference discussions on extending the payroll tax holiday, the latter which the GOP now says it would support without an offset.

February 14, 2012 | Daily News

CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Monday (Feb. 13) that the majority of CMS' net discretionary funding increase of $1 billion in President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal would go toward implementation of the health reform law's exchanges.

February 13, 2012 | Daily News

The administration's FDA budget request includes more than $583 million in seven proposed new user fees, including two pending before Congress, with total industry fees funding 98 percent of the agency's $654 million increase over fiscal 2012 funding levels. The administration is also continuing its push to limit drug patent settlements between brand-name and generic drug makers and lower biologic exclusivity to seven years from the 12 years negotiated during health reform.

February 13, 2012 | Daily News

The president's plan to save $364 billion under Medicare and Medicaid relies on hard provider cuts and some proposed structural reforms -- a move that long-term care providers promptly protested would cut back benefits and hurt states. The White House budget would cut more than $50 billion from Medicaid -- including $17 billion over 10 years by establishing a new, and already controversial, “blended rate” for Medicaid and CHIP in 2017 and $21 billion by reducing provider taxes.

February 09, 2012 | Daily News

The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care is urging conferees hashing out a Medicare physician pay solution to phase in CMS' 11.1 percent Medicare pay cut to nursing homes and to avoid using nursing-home cuts to pay for overriding the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

February 04, 2012 | Daily News

A coalition of 31 food groups is heading efforts to keep new food fees out of the administration's forthcoming fiscal 2013 budget, urging HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the White House Office of Management and Budget in a Jan. 30 letter to focus instead on securing more appropriations for food safety activities.

February 01, 2012 | Daily News

Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY), a conferee negotiating on the Medicare physician payment fix, told Inside Health Policy that she is open to counting a reduction in war spending as an offset for permanently replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

January 31, 2012 | Daily News

There are still plenty of war savings left that could be used to pay for fixing the Medicare physician pay formula, according to the 2012 budget outlook that the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday morning (Jan. 31), bolstering calls by providers for a permanent Sustainable Growth Rate fix paid for with savings from troop drawdowns. Troop drawdowns would save $838 billion over 10 years, CBO says, and keeping physician rates at their current levels for that same period would cost $316 billion, up from a June estimate of just under $300 billion.

January 27, 2012 | Daily News

Updated Story

House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-PA) said he wants to cut spending from the health overhaul law to pay for delaying for two to three years a 27.4 percent cut to Medicare physician payment, which would do away with the need for hospital-pay cuts that were included in the House-passed Sustainable Growth Rate formula two-year patch. Pitts opposes the idea of using war savings as an offset, although other Republicans appear to be warming to the idea.

January 26, 2012 | Daily News

House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-PA) is pushing for a two- or three-year Medicare physician payment fix paid for through Medicare cuts, and opposes the idea of using war savings as an offset although other Republicans appear to be warming to the idea.

January 26, 2012 | Daily News

This year's appropriations process could be more difficult for FDA than it has been in recent years because of a more constrained budget environment, the unlikelihood that major initiatives -- like the food safety law -- will continue to enjoy funding hikes, new funding needs that could surface through the reauthorization of user fees and a looming budget sequestration put in motion by the super committee's failure to hammer out a deficit plan, although the agency continues to have strong funding advocates, sources said.

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