On June 2, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee approved ten health policy bills, including legislation to repeal the ACA’s medical device tax and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Other measures would make a series of changes to Medicare Advantage (MA) requirements and Medicare long-term care hospital (LTCH) policy. Specifically, the Committee approved the following bills:

  • H.R. 160, “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to repeal the ACA medical device tax, applicable to sales in calendar quarters beginning after the date of enactment.
  • H.R. 1190, “Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015” – a bill to repeal the IPAB (a panel charged with submitting Medicare spending plans to Congress if projected spending growth exceeds specified targets; IPAB’s proposals will go into effect automatically unless Congress enacts alternative legislation achieving required savings).
  • H.R. 2580, “LTCH Technical Correction Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to allow certain moratorium exceptions for beds in new satellite locations of LTCHs, financed by a reduction to LTCH outlier payments. Under CMS’s interpretation of current law, an LTCH that establishes a new satellite, based upon meeting the criteria for an exception to the moratorium, must reduce beds elsewhere in the LTCH in order to have beds in the new satellite location. This bill provides a technical correction that would permit LTCHs to add additional beds to those the satellite locations that qualify for one of the exceptions to the moratorium. This bill also would reduce LTCH outlier payments by a factor of 0.9375%.
  • H.R. 2505, “Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015” (amended) -- a bill to require CMS to report certain MA enrollment data to Congress.
  • H.R. 2506, “Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to delay the Secretary’s authority to terminate MA contracts solely on the basis of failing to achieve a minimum quality rating under the 5-star rating system until after the end of plan year 2018, pending additional study on the effects of socioeconomic status and dual-eligible populations on the MA STARS rating system.
  • H.R. 2507, “Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to require the HHS Secretary to establish an annual rulemaking schedule with notice and comment period for updates to MA rates and certain other major MA policy changes.
  • H.R. 2579, “Securing Care for Seniors Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to revise the MA risk adjustment system to account for chronic conditions and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 2581, “Preservation of Access for Seniors in Medicare Advantage Act of 2015” (amended) – a bill to establish a demonstration program to test the use of value based insurance design methodologies under eligible MA plans, provide an expanded MA enrollment period in certain circumstances, revise Medicare treatment of infusion drugs and biologicals furnished through durable medical equipment, and express the sense of the Congress regarding MA incentive payments.
  • S. 984, “Steve Gleason Act of 2015” – a bill to cover as DME eye tracking and gaze interaction accessories for speech generating devices furnished to individuals with a demonstrated medical need for such accessories (approved by the Senate on April 22, 2015).
  • S. 971, “Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act of 2015” – a bill to extend from a three-year to a five-year period the limit on the length of agreements under the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program (approved by the Senate on April 22).

The House is scheduled to begin considering a number of these bills later this week.