Lawmakers Continue to Comment on Part B Demonstration

Members of Congress continue to write to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to express concerns about the proposed Part B Drug Payment Model. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) led a letter signed by 66 of his colleagues requesting that the agency address concerns regarding beneficiary and physician impact, stakeholder input, the model scope, interactions with other models, potential shifts in site of service, and the Phase II comment period before moving forward with the model. Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) led a letter requesting that the agency does not move forward with the proposed rule due to serious concerns about the model’s potential effect on entities that serve a disproportionate share of aging, low-income and rural communities. This letter was signed by 23 other members of the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Gary Peters (D-Mich.) expressed concerns about the scope of the model, as well as its impact on existing delivery and payment reform models, and requests that CMS resolve these issues before implementing their proposal. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) circulated a letter giving support for the demonstration. “Prescription drug spending, especially in the Medicare Part B program, is rising rapidly, and we believe the Demonstration offers an important opportunity to provide better value to beneficiaries,” the lawmakers, along with nine other Senate co-signers, write.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on “Medicare and Medicaid Program Integrity: Combatting Improper Payments and Ineligible Providers;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; May 24

House Veterans’ Affairs hearing on draft legislation to establish a permanent Veterans Choice Program and H.R. 5083, the VA Appeals Modernization Act of 2016; 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; May 24

House Ways and Means Committee markup of proposals to advance hospital reforms and improve TANF; the Committee will consider H.R. 5273, Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016; 2:00 p.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.; May 24

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on a number of bills including S. 2896, to eliminate the sunset date for the Veterans Choice Program, to expand eligibility for such program, and to extend certain operating hours for pharmacies and medical facilities of the Department, S.2888, to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s review and publication of illness and conditions relating to veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and their family members, S.2883, to amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the requirement of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a report on the capacity of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide for the specialized treatment and rehabilitative needs of disabled veterans, S.2679, to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to burn pits, S.2520, to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the care provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to newborn children, S.2487, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to identify mental health care and suicide prevention programs and metrics that are effective in treating women veterans as part of the evaluation of such programs by the Secretary, S.2049, to establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a continuing medical education program for non-Department medical professionals who treat veterans and family members of veterans to increase knowledge and recognition of medical conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans, an original bill to reform the rights and processes relating to appeals of decisions regarding claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, an original bill to make certain improvements in the provision of automobiles and adaptive equipment by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and an original bill to expand eligibility for hospital care and medical services under section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to include veterans in receipt of health services under the pilot program of the Department of Veterans Affairs for rural veterans; ; 2:15 p.m., 418 Russell Bldg.; May 24

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Cybersecurity Responsibilities at HHS;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; May 25

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