MedPAC March Report to Congress

Last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) sent their March Report to Congress. In the report, the advisory commission details proposals that would impact inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), 340B drugs, and Medicare Advantage plans. MedPAC recommends that Congress direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to analyze the coding used to set payments for people treated in IRFs. MedPAC’s analysis indicates that some of these specialty hospitals appear to categorize patients are more functionally disabled than they actually are. The Commission also recommends that HHS reduce Medicare payments for drugs purchased through the 340B discount program by 10 percent of the average sales price (ASP). The report goes on to recommend the development of a risk adjustment model that uses two-years of data from Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans in order to better understand the differences in the assessment of patient health in bill coding.

Sasse Unveils Report on ACA Exchanges

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has issued a congressional report detailing a county-by-county analysis of consumer choice in the 2016 Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) exchanges. The data indicates that the number of insurers selling coverage on the exchanges decreased from 307 to 289 between 2015 and 2016, a decline of six percent. Additionally, 36 percent of counties only have one or two insurers offering coverage, while another 26.8 percent of counties only have three insurers – totaling 63 percent of the country’s counties with three or fewer insurers to choose from in 2016. Only 8.2 percent of the nation’s counties have more than five insurers to choose from on the exchanges.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

POSTPONED: Senate Finance Committee markup to vote on the nomination of Mary Katherine Wakefield to be deputy HHS secretary; time and place TBD

House Judiciary Committee markup of H.R.4771, the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2016”; 10:00 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.; March 22

House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Defense Health Program; 10:00 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg.; March 22

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on “America’s Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; March 22

House Small Business Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee hearing on “Lip Service but Little Else: Failure of the Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credit;” 10:00 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.; March 22

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee hearing on “Choice Consolidation: Leveraging Provider Networks to Increase Veteran Access;” 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; March 22

House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Drug Enforcement Administration; 2:00 p.m., H-309, U.S. Capitol; March 22

House Oversight and Government Reform Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules Subcommittee hearing on “Opportunities and Challenges in Advancing Health Information Technology;” 2:00 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; March 22

House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; March 23

House Energy and Commerce special event titled “Conversation on Child Cures;” 10:00 a.m.; 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; March 23

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee final markup on innovation agenda; time and place TBA; April 6

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