Future of Medicare Extenders in Limbo

Health care stakeholders are increasing pressure on Congress to continue funding for a series of Medicare “extenders” – Medicare program and payment policies that expired at the end of 2017. Some examples of the extenders include the physical, occupational, and speech language therapy cap exception process; the Medicare low-volume hospital add-on payments; and geographic practice cost index (GPCI). Congress last extended these provisions in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. This past fall, both the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee released agreements on a Medicare extenders package, but debate continues on what will be included in a final package and the pay fors. As a result, Medicare extenders were not included in the year-end spending bill or the recently-passed CR to fund the government until February 8. It remains uncertain whether and when lawmakers may be likely to reach an agreement on the extenders.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing “Appeals Reform: Will VA’s Implementation Effectively Serve Veterans?” 10:00 a.m., 334 Canon Bldg.; January 30

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Examining Implementation of the Compounding Quality Act;” 11:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; January 30

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security Roundtable on Small Business Health Plans; 3:30 p.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; January 30

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing “The Opioid Crisis: Impact on Children and Families;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; February 8

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.Res.706 (introduced by Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky): Expressing support for the designation of a “Women’s Health Research Day”; Energy and Commerce

H.R.4866 (introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton): To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to increase the Federal medical assistance percentage for the District of Columbia under the Medicaid Program to 80 percent; Energy and Commerce

S.2336 (introduced by Sen. Jon Tester): A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program on providing intensive community care coordination and supportive services to veteran families who lack adequate access to services, and for other purposes; Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.4882 (introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to treat amounts paid for private umbilical cord blood or umbilical cord tissue, or placental blood or placental tissue, banking services as medical care expenses; Ways and Means

S.Res.383 (introduced by Sen. Tammy Duckworth): A resolution expressing support for the designation of a “Women’s Health Research Day”; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

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