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CMS’s move to cut Medicare payments made through the 340B drug discount programs would see the biggest impact in California, New York and North Carolina, according to an analysis by Avalere Health, though for most hospitals it will reduce their total Part B revenue by less than 5 percent.

The Affordable Care Act’s taxes on health insurance, high-cost health plans and medical devices would be delayed under a series of bills introduced by House Republicans, with the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) quickly coming out in support of suspending the device tax.

Two Senate Democrats have asked CMS and HHS to make a last-minute extension of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s insurance exchanges, arguing the Dec. 15 deadline will leave too many interested customers either without health coverage or automatically enrolled into plans which “may no longer be the best choice for their families.”

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate has been projected to cause insurance premiums to rise by an average of 10 percent through 2027. Those hikes would be mitigated, however, if Congress funded the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies and a $10 billion, two-year reinsurance program, according to an analysis from Avalere.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) suggested the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) pump the brakes on advocating for major changes to Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), saying any major shifts wouldn’t have “the benefit of data or experience” considering this is the program’s first performance year.

 

Recent Headlines

Hospitals remain opposed to Senate healthcare bill; AMA sees slight improvement

Whenever Republicans in the House or Senate have released a new version of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan in 2017, healthcare industry reaction has been almost uniformly negative. The same can largely be said for the newest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), with the notable exception of the American Medical Association (AMA) when it comes to two provisions. 

New Senate healthcare bill allows insurance plans with fewer benefits, keeps Medicaid cuts

Senate Republicans have released a new version of their Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan, adding new funding for stabilizing the individual market and keeping more of the ACA’s taxes, while also including a controversial proposal to allow insurance plans which don’t comply with ACA regulations on benefits and community rating.

House passes FDA user fee reauthorization, Senate schedule unclear

The House has passed legislation to reauthorize user fee programs through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affecting medical devices, prescription and generic drugs.

AHIP: Market instability, higher premiums for sicker enrollees under Cruz amendment

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), health insurers’ largest lobbying group, has been largely silent on Senate Republicans’ version on an Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plan, but now is warning against a conservative amendment to allow insurers to now offer plans which don’t comply with ACA regulations.

Senate delaying August recess to work on healthcare bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has taken the unusual step of delaying the Senate’s August recess, announcing the chamber will stay in session during the first two weeks of the month to address legislative priorities like the replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

CMS: Fewer insurer sign-ups on exchange show ACA is ‘failing’

The number of applications for insurers planning to participate in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges for 2018 has fallen by 38 percent, according to CMS.

Senate unlikely to vote on ACA repeal until week of July 17

After failing to meet their self-imposed June 30 deadline to vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), Senate Republicans now say they’ll need another week in Washington before the bill may advance.

CBO: Senate healthcare bill would cut Medicaid more deeply over 20-year period

If the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) became law, Medicaid spending would be 35 percent lower by 2036 compared to levels under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

Legislation limiting malpractice damages passes House

Noneconomic damages in certain medical malpractice lawsuits would be capped at $250,000 under a bill passed through the House with only Republican support on June 28.

Senate to delay ACA replacement vote until after July 4 recess

The Senate will not vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before the July 4 recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, informed his Republican colleagues at a June 27 lunch, according to multiple news outlets.

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