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April 27, 2012 | Daily News

A coalition of mostly rural hospitals is pointing to CMS' recently released hospital IPPS rule's revelation that Massachusetts hospitals will receive a 5.5 percent wage index increase -- while rural hospitals will see a 0.3 percent reduction -- to again call on Congress to reverse the ACA-driven policy. The Massachusetts increase and the projected increase of 3.1 percent for other urban hospitals in New England are a result of an Affordable Care Act provision that altered the wage index so that it must be budget neutral on a national, rather than state-based, level.

April 26, 2012 | Daily News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday (April 26) cleared the FDA fiscal 2013 funding bill, providing an increase of $22 million over last year's funding level and a $12.5 million increase over the president's budget request to go toward implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

April 25, 2012 | Daily News

The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up the FDA funding bill Thursday (April 26), the committee announced Tuesday, with funding advocates also anticipating a markup of the House appropriations bill within the next few weeks.

April 24, 2012 | Daily News

The Medicare Advantage demonstration that pays bonuses for average performance is a way to keep MA enrollment high because the bonuses are sufficient for plans to maintain some of the extra benefits that they provide, a government official said Monday (April 23). The administration has held out high enrollment numbers as an example of why Republicans were wrong to say that Democrats were going to ruin MA plans with deep MA pay cuts in the Affordable Care Act.

April 20, 2012 | Daily News

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is proposing to repeal health reform law's prevention fund, rescind unobligated state exchange grants and defund the CO-OP program as well as reform medical liability law and repeal the maintenance of effort requirements on states for Medicaid and CHIP, according to proposals the committee will markup as a part of the budget

April 18, 2012 | Daily News

Several health care economists on Wednesday (April 18) appeared to agree that the rapid growth rate of health care spending is a more pressing problem to immediately tackle than the high level of health care spending in the country, but many experts pointed to other factors apart from price and excess quantity as being drivers of the cost growth, including a lack of management, poor provider incentives, intensity upon seeking medical care and a lack of focus on value.

April 17, 2012 | Daily News

The House Ways and Means Committee is proposing to make people pay back all of the health insurance premium tax credits they were overpaid when individuals end up earning more than expected in a given year, which would save $44 billion over 10 years, according to documents posted in advance of the House committee's budget reconciliation markup on Wednesday (April 18).

April 13, 2012 | Daily News

The House Energy and Commerce Committee may seek to eliminate the health law's prevention fund as well as other funding measures that GOP members view as “slush funds” and to reform medical liability law when it takes up budget legislation designed to avert a funding sequester, a GOP aide said, and lobbyists expect Ways and Means to also include high-profile health care policies when it takes up the bill.

April 11, 2012 | Daily News

The White House is criticizing a new study by GOP Medicare and Social Security Public Trustee Charles Blahous that finds the health reform law will add at least $340 billion to the deficit over the next decade, saying the claims are false and that the study uses “another brand of 'new math'” to come to its conclusions.

March 22, 2012 | Daily News

The House GOP budget proposal keeps in place the health reform law's $500 billion in Medicare savings, gleaned through major cuts to health care providers and insurers, while repealing the reform law's health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion spending provisions, sources confirmed Wednesday (March 21), following some confusion among lobbyists on whether House Republican's touted repeal of health reform would also reverse the cuts.

March 14, 2012 | Daily News

Updated Story

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated annual Medicare funding cuts likely to be triggered by the Budget Control Act's sequestration process, which a Wall Street analyst has translated into a sector-by-sector impact breakdown using prior CBO data. Ipsita Smolinski, principle of Capitol Street, says that if sequestration is triggered the hospital inpatient payments will see the highest impact -- an approximate $33 billion reduction in payments over nine years.

March 13, 2012 | Daily News

House Republican leaders have decided to give lawmakers an opening to propose new ways to pay for the IPAB repeal bill other than medical malpractice reform, which they attached Monday (March 12) to the repeal legislation headed for a floor vote next week. The House Rules Committee has given lawmakers until March 19 at 3 p.m. to file amendments to the combined IPAB repeal/medical malpractice reform bill.

March 08, 2012 | Daily News

The Business Roundtable on Wednesday (March 7) called for repeal of the health law's medical device, insurance and pharmaceutical taxes and enactment of medical liability reform as part of its recommendations to the president and Congress on ways to promote economic growth.

February 29, 2012 | Daily News

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) line of questioning during a hearing on health and retirement security signals that his forthcoming budget may include elements of the Medicare reform plan he has been developing with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), but Ryan declined to answer specific questions on the topic.

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.