Archive for May, 2021


Federal Health Policy Update for Tuesday, May 25

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

The White House


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


Health Policy News

  • The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be CMS administrator.

Department of Health and Human Services


  • HHS and its Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have announced that they will spend $4.8 billion in American Rescue Plan money to support HRSA’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program.  This funding will enable the program to continue reimbursing health care providers for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19.  See the announcement here.
  • HHS and HRSA announced the availability of $14.2 million from the American Rescue Plan to

Is Telehealth Too Expensive To Keep?

That’s the question Congress is asking these days.

While health care interests and consumers are almost unanimous in their enthusiasm for telehealth, Congress is questioning whether telehealth is too expensive to preserve after the threat of COVID-19 passes.

Prior to the pandemic, Medicare mostly limited the use of telehealth to rural areas where access to providers is limited.  Once the public health emergency became serious Medicare waived many of its limits on the use of telehealth so that elderly patients could stay in touch with their doctors.  On the whole, patients have viewed telehealth favorably and providers are very enthusiastic about it.

But Congress?  Congress worries that increased post-COVID use of telehealth could drive up health care costs while also being susceptible to fraud and abuse.  As a result, it is considering possible legislation with different approaches to future use of telehealth in Medicare after the waivers expire.

Learn more about the telehealth challenges Congress is considering and the options it is weighing in the Roll Call article “Medicare cost crunch raises questions in telehealth debate.”…

Cost-Sharing Drives Medicaid Disenrollment

Cost-sharing requirements appear to lead people to disenroll from Medicaid programs that impose such requirements, according to a new study.

Those disenrolling are likely to be healthier in general than those who choose to remain enrolled in Medicaid despite cost-sharing requirements.

This is among the findings in a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research of Michigan’s Medicaid program, which was one of the first in the country to be authorized to require certain beneficiaries to share in their medical costs.

Such disenrollments also may lead to adverse selection among health care plans that serve Medicaid patients.Learn more about the study, what it found, and what its implications are for Medicaid beneficiaries and the providers who care for them in the National Bureau of Economic Research Study “Adverse Selection in Medicaid:  Evidence From Discontinuous Program Rules.”…

Federal Health Policy Update for Wednesday, May 19

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

NASH Advocacy

  • NASH has written to all members of Congress urging them to contact Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about directing more of its remaining CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money to private safety-net hospitals to help them serve their diverse, predominantly low-income communities during the COVID-19 emergency.  Go here to see NASH’s message to Congress.

The White House


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Health Policy News

  • CMS has updated documents in support of a 2016 regulation that seeks to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and human-caused disasters.  These updated documents combine excerpts from the final rule, the interpretive guidelines, and revisions from CMS to provide a consolidated overview document for the facilities that must comply with the rule. 

Earmarks are Back and Hospitals are Lining Up for Them

After an absence of 10 years federal earmarks are back and hospitals and health systems are asking their members of Congress for funding for equipment, facility improvements, expansion, and more.

Each member of Congress may submit requests for up to ten earmarks, and the House Appropriations Committee has released the requests made of it by House members on behalf of their constituents.  All told, Congress plans to spend $14 billion on earmarked projects, with only non-profit entities eligible to receive them.

Among the requests released by the House Appropriations Committee are earmarks for procedure rooms, pediatric MRIs, ultrasound equipment, linear accelerators, CT scanners, simulation equipment, catheterization lab expansion, community and rural clinic expansion, new and improved mobile care units, and more.

Learn more about the return of federal earmarks and the projects for which hospitals and health systems are seeking funding in the Fierce Healthcare article “Nonprofit hospitals and health systems want funding for new equipment, expansions in congressional earmarks.”…