President Obama on July 17 sent a draft of legislation to Congress that would establish an Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC), which would have the authority to make recommendations to the President on annual Medicare payment rates as well as other reforms.
Comprehensive health care reform legislation passed a significant milestone last week as Senate and House committees approved different legislative packages. At the same time, comments from the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put a damper on the potential further progress of the legislation.
House Democratic leaders unveiled a comprehensive health care reform plan on June 19, calling for the establishment of a public health insurance program that would compete with private insurers to lower costs. The proposal would create a Health Insurance Exchange to provide a functional marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private and public insurers.
Few details of how the plan would be paid for were announced, and lawmakers said they were awaiting estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
Members of both the House and the Senate have released draft summaries or draft legislative language for comprehensive health care reform legislation. Staff members of three House committees -- Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor – released a three-page summary of a possible health care reform bill that includes a public insurance option, insurance market reforms, and insurance premium support for families up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
Both the Senate and House have passed different versions of an economic stimulus bill. In addition to tax cuts and new government spending provisions, both bills include many provisions that affect healthcare providers. A conference committee will meet this week in an attempt to iron out the differences.
According to a fact sheet from the Senate Finance Committee, here are some of the key differences in the two bills, relating to healthcare.
CMS and Congress will be focusing more on regulatory compliance matters in 2009 than they have in years, according to Brian Flood, managing director at KPMG. "You have a lot of activity going on in the next six months," he said during a recent American Bar Association teleconference.
The House Appropriations Committee on Jan. 15 issued the outline for an $825 billion stimulus package which includes several provisions relating to Medicare and Medicaid.
The proposal (for which actual legislative text is still being written) would provide $8.6 bilion to provide 100 percent federal funding to states through 2010 for optional state Medicaid coverage of individuals and their dependents who are involunitarily unemployed and whose income is no higher than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The 111th Congress, which will meet in 2009 and 2010, will not consider anylegislation that would enact reductions in Medicare financing from the Treasury'sgeneral revenues.
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