MedPAC on ASC and OHDP Payments

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended that Congress raise the Medicare reimbursement rate for ambulatory surgical centers by 0.5% in 2013.  The commission also recommended that ASCs report cost data to CMS to help develop a market-basket for ASCs.  The commission also recommended that outpatient hospital department payments for evaluation and management services be reduced over three years starting in 2013 to bring them more in line with payments to free-standing physician offices.  They also recommended that a study be conducted by 2015 to determine the impact the policy would have on low income beneficiaries.

Health Costs Remain Constant in 2010

CMS reported that, due to the weak economy, health care spending was slowed in 2010 with costs increasing only 3.9% to $2.6 trillion or about 17.9% of U.S. GDP.  The agency also said the PPACA contributed just 0.1% to the overall increase in health care spending.  In another report issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the agency found that only about 1% of U.S. residents incurred more than 20% of all health care spending in 2009 while the bottom 50% incurred only 2.9% of all spending.

Final Rules for Retiree Drug Subsidy Program

CMS issued a final rule regarding RDS payments to sponsors of retiree prescription drug plans which states that the Part D policy with respect to the use of pass-through negotiated prices will not apply to the RDS program and that RDS sponsors will not have to report such prices in the same manner as Part D sponsors.

House Hearings on FDA User Fees

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has given notice of upcoming hearings on measures authorizing the FDA to collect user fees.  On February 7th the subcommittee will hold hearings on reauthorizing the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and on new proposals for generic and biosimilar drug user fees.  On February 15th the subcommittee will hold hearings on the reauthorization of the medical device portion of the Act.

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