Archive for MedPAC

 

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, May 5

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS and its Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have awarded nearly $25 million to 125 HRSA-funded health centers to improve and strengthen access to school-based health services.  Awards will support local partnerships between schools and health centers to provide children and youth with comprehensive physical and mental health care.  Learn more from this HHS news release.
  • HHS and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have announced $55 million in funding for SAMHSA’s Tribal Opioid Response grant program.  The grant program seeks to address the overdose crisis in tribal communities by increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid misuse and supporting prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for opioid and stimulant misuse and co-occurring mental and substance use conditions.  Funding will be provided each year for up to 150 grantees over a two-year project period beginning late FY 2022.  Learn more about the program from this HHS news release and learn more about

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 14

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 14.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Public Health Emergency Renewed

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days effective April 16.

White House

  • In response to an executive order President Biden issued on his first day in office titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” 90 federal agencies and cabinet departments have released equity action plans that lay out more than 300 concrete strategies and commitments to address systemic barriers in federal policies and programs.  A White House fact sheet describes the Department of Health and Human Services initiatives as follows:

The Department of Health and Human Services is increasing outreach to communities of color to encourage enrollment in free and low-cost health care, and is addressing the maternal mortality crisis that disproportionately impacts Black and Native families, including by working with states to extend postpartum coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 

Descriptions of other agencies’ plans touch on health care interests as well, and among the approaches …

MedPAC Meets

The government agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week.

During the virtual meeting, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission discussed:

  • addressing high prices of drugs covered under Medicare Part B
  • initial findings from MedPAC’s analysis of Part D data on drug rebates and discounts
  • segmentation in the stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan market
  • leveraging Medicare policies to address social determinants of health
  • an approach to streamline and harmonize Medicare’s portfolio of alternative payment models
  • aligning fee-for-service payment rates across ambulatory settings

MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues involving Medicare.  While its recommendations are not binding on either Congress or the administration, MedPAC is highly influential in governing circles and its recommendations often find their way into legislation, regulations, and new public policy.

For a look at the agenda for the two-day meeting and to find the presentations for each of these subjects, go here.…

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 7

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House

  • The administration is proposing to address a flaw in the Affordable Care Act often referred to as the “family glitch.”  Under the ACA, people who do not have access to “affordable” health insurance through their jobs may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase coverage on the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces.

Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as “affordable” if the coverage for the employee alone is considered affordable; if the coverage for the employee is considered affordable but if it is not considered affordable for the employee’s family, those family members are not eligible for a premium tax credit.  This “family glitch” affects about five million people.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are proposing to eliminate the family glitch so that family members of workers who are offered affordable coverage only for themselves but not for their family may qualify for premium tax credits to buy ACA coverage.  Should this change be made, an estimated 200,000 uninsured people would gain coverage …

MedPAC Makes 2023 Medicare Payment Recommendations

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has released its March 2022 Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy.  The report includes MedPAC’s recommendations for Medicare payments in 2023.

For the coming year, MedPAC recommends the following changes in Medicare fee-for-service payments:

  • hospital inpatient payments – increase 2.5%
  • hospital outpatient payments – increase 2.0%
  • long-term care hospital payments – increase approximately 2.0%
  • outpatient dialysis payments – increase 1.2%
  • physician, ambulatory surgical center, and hospice payments – no change
  • skilled nursing facility, home health, and inpatient rehabilitation facility payments – reduce 5.0%

The report also reviews the status of Medicare Advantage and the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D) and provides congressionally mandated reports on four policy matters:  a payment adjustment for certain low-volume acute-care hospitals; recent changes of the home health payment system; the performance of certain specialized Medicare Advantage plans; and a value-based payment program for post-acute-care services.

MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues affecting Medicare.   Its recommendations, while binding on neither Congress nor the administration, are highly respected in public policy circles and often find their way into future Medicare legislation, regulations, and policy.

Learn more about MedPAC’s latest recommendations to Congress from MedPAC’s