Congress delays passage of SGR repeal

The fate of the bill remains unclear as critics have arisen on both ends of the political spectrum and among healthcare policy researchers.
Congress has put off for two weeks passage of legislation to repeal and replace a cost-control formula for Medicare physician spending.

The legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which aims to control Medicare costs by holding physician payments closer to U.S. economic growth, was introduced March 24 and passed the House of Representatives March 26. But Senate Democrats held up passage over concerns about provisions related to abortion and other issues. Legislators were scrambling to pass the measure before a scheduled 21.2 percent physician pay cut required by the SGR went into effect April 1, and before the start of a two-week congressional recess at the end of this week. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a statement this week that it would be able to delay processing the cut for two weeks after April 1.

Although passage “will require much bipartisan cooperation,” said Rick Gundling, vice president of healthcare financial practices at HFMA, Congress will have a little more time after it returns from its Easter break to complete passage.

Hospitals have […]

By |March 28th, 2015|Health Reform, Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off

Huge House vote on “doc fix” bill pressures Senate

Pressure is building for Senate leadership to take up the House’s newly passed Medicare “doc fix” bill in order to meet next week’s crucial deadline.

Attention now turns to the Senate after the House resoundingly passed legislation to end a long-running dispute over a formula for paying doctors known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).

The Senate now has about 24 hours to pass the bill to beat next week’s deadline to avert a double-digit cut to doctor payments. GOP leaders of both chambers – as well as President Obama – are now putting pressure on Senate Democrats to declare their support for the bill.

“I’m ready to vote for it today,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a top Senate Republican, told reporters shortly after the House bill passed 392-37. He noted that some Democrats are “opposed to the idea of even voting for it.”

Congress will not return until April 13, which will be two weeks after the doctors’ current payment rate expires. To stave off the cuts, some lawmakers have suggested that Congress could pass another temporary bill to give the Senate more time.

But considering another short-term fix would significantly slow momentum for the legislation, and House leadership have firmly said they […]

By |March 27th, 2015|Health Reform, Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off

Voices for Ohio’s Children Applauds House Passage of Children’s Health Insurance Program

Senate Strongly Encouraged to Take Action Now to Extend Program
Children’s issues advocate Voices for Ohio’s Children praised the U.S. House of Representatives today for taking action to ensure children in Ohio and across the nation continue to get the quality health care coverage they need to succeed. Today’s bipartisan House vote to renew funding for the highly successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will help ensure that kids from low- and moderate-income working families continue to receive the care they need to reach their full potential.

CHIP has a long history of bipartisan support, proving coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but don’t have access to affordable health care.  As a result of CHIP’s implementation, coverage rates for kids across the country are at a historic high of close to 93 percent.

In a joint statement, the Ohio Children’s Campaign, the Ohio Coalition for the Medically Underserved, and Ohio Covering Kids and Families said, “We thank the members of the Ohio delegation that voted to stand up for our kids and support this vital program. Their actions will help make sure more than 150,000 Ohio kids keep the coverage and quality care families depend […]

By |March 27th, 2015|Health Reform|Comments Off

 

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