Republicans Seek to Attack the Affordable Care Act
This week House Republicans are putting the Affordable Care Act’s summer headlines front and center. Both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will hold hearings focusing on the viability of the marketplaces and double-digit premium hikes. In addition, they will review work of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), work of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Attorney General, committee investigations, and republican solutions. The hearings 0ccur as state officials approve new premium rates and prepare for this year’s open enrollment period, which begins on November 1.
Potential Zika Funding Deal in Senate
Senate Republicans are expected to release their latest legislative compromise to provide funding for the nation’s Zika virus response this week. Leaders from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate are negotiating a short-term government spending bill. This legislation, which must be passed by September 30, is likely to include funding to fight the Zika virus. House Republicans have not voiced their support for the anticipated legislation, but are demanding the bill be offset.
The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Marks Up Public Health Legislation
The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a markup on Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13 to consider five pieces of bipartisan public health legislation. The markup builds upon the Subcommittee’s recent hearing and will bolster public health and focuses on increased resources for health professionals and critical research for diseases.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Monday, September 12: The House Committee on Rules will hold a meeting on H.R. 3590, Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act and H.R. 5620, VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016.
- Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a markup on H.R. 1192, National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act; H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act; H.R. 1209, A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the designation of maternity care health professional shortage areas; H.R. 2713, A bill to amend Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act to extend advanced education nursing grants to support clinical nurse specialist programs, and for other purposes; and H.R. 1877, A bill to amend section 520J of the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for mental health first aid training programs.
- Wednesday, September 14: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Affordable Care Act’s Premium Increases.”
- Wednesday, September 14: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a joint hearing titled “The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight.”
- Wednesday, September 14: The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Exploring the Use of Technology and Innovation to Create Efficiencies, Higher Quality, and Better Access for Beneficiaries in Health Care.”
- Wednesday, September 14: The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing titled “Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits: What You Need to Know.”
- Wednesday, September 14: The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing titled “The Future of the VA: Examining the Commission on Care Report and VA’s Response.”
- Thursday, September 15: The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a hearing titled “The State of Health Insurance Markets.”
Updated Medicare Emergency Preparedness Regulations Released by HHS
On Thursday, September 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rule regarding Medicare emergency preparedness for providers and suppliers. HHS determined that the current regulations were not comprehensive enough to address various complex elements of emergency preparedness. The final rule requires providers and suppliers that participate in Medicare meet four best practice standards. The four standards include developing an emergency plan using an all-hazards approach; develop and implement policies and procedures based on plan and risk assessment; develop and maintain a communication plan that complies with federal and state law; and develop and maintain training and testing programs. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2016.
HHS Releases Plans for Quality Payment Program in 2017
On Thursday, September 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an overview of their plans to implement the Quality Payment Program in 2017. On January 1, 2017, providers can decide to (1) test the Quality Payment Program; (2) participate in the program for a portion of the calendar year; (3) participate in the program for the full calendar year; or (4) participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model. The final rule, which will be released November 1, 2016, will incorporate stakeholder feedback from the April proposal and address the use of technology, excessive reporting, small and rural non-hospital based physicians, and medical homes.
Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) Convenes Thursday, September 15
- 9:30 am session titled “Comparing Medicaid Hospital Payment Across States and to Medicare.”
- 10:15 am session titled “Implications of ACA Coverage Expansions for Medicaid DSH Policy.”
- 11:30 am session titled “Role of Residential Care Settings in Delivering Long-Term Services and Supports.”
- 1:00 pm session titled “Improving Service Delivery to Medicaid Beneficiaries with Serious Mental Illness: Themes from Roundtable Discussion”
- 1:30 pm session titled “The Relationship Between Medicaid Financing and Provider Payment Policies.”
- 3:00 pm session titled “Review of the Children’s Coverage Recommendation Package: Draft Specifications.”