Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Members continue to weigh-in with suggestions for the super committee with Democrats continuing their push to eliminate the Medicare Part D provisions prohibiting the federal government to negotiate over drug prices.  Medical groups are asking the committee to include:

  • medical liability reforms, 
  • repeal of the PPACA’s IPAB, 
  • continuation of Medicare graduate medical education funding, and 
  • reform of the Medicare physician payment system’s SGR.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association also weighed-in with a list of possible deficit reduction provisions in the health area, including: 

  • $3 billion by accelerating the adoption of safety measures in the value-based purchasing program; 
  • $21 billion by expanding a bundled payment program to cover all inpatient Medicare discharges by 2020; 
  • $125 billion by coordinating care for dual-eligibles; 
  • $7 billion through lifestyle change programs;
  • $3 billion through a childhood prevention program;
  • $1 billion by requiring pre-authorization of advanced imaging services in Medicare for certain physicians; and 
  • $54 billion by putting caps on non-economic and punitive damages and a shorter statute of limitations in the medical malpractice system.

CLASS Act under Fire

Republicans in the Senate and the House continue their push in opposition to the PPACA long-term care CLASS Act.  Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee asked the Committee chairman to have the HHS Secretary and the Class Act actuary, who recently resigned, testify before the committee on the actuarial soundness and viability of the program.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee also wrote to HHS asking for an analysis of the viability of the program and the status of the program office within HHS.

OIG to Investigate PPACA Provisions in 2012

The HHS Office of Inspector General issued a 2012 work plan which states that various PPACA programs will be reviewed, including pre-existing condition insurance plans; the early retiree reinsurance program; the health insurance web portal; affordable insurance exchanges; the national background check program; and the CLASS Act.

PPACA Physician Payments Sunshine Act

Senators Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl recently wrote to CMS seeking answers as to why the agency has missed a deadline for issuing regulations for the PPACA Physician Payments Sunshine Act which requires public disclosure of the financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics industries.  Collection of payment data begins next year with public disclosure beginning September 30, 2013.

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 -  2018