Medicare

Basic information and updates on the federal program to provide health insurance to the elderly.
The Trump Administration released its budget blueprint for federal fiscal year 2020 last week and, by any measure, it does not contain good news for Medicaid, Medicare, hospitals, or coverage expansion.
The Health Policy Commission in coming months is scheduled to decide on whether the state’s healthcare cost growth benchmark – currently set at 3.1% – should remain at that level.
The 2018 Cost Trends Report from the Health Policy Commission released last month showed the persistent growth in prescription drug spending over the state’s healthcare cost growth benchmark.
National healthcare organizations have announced expansion of a program to assist hospitals in caring for an aging population.
In a letter to Congressional leadership last week, a group of hospital associations, including the American Hospital Association, noted that the ACA coverage goals have not been fully achieved – but that DSH cuts remain.
The state’s bold experiment with its dual eligible programs is getting some revisions, while raising some concerns among hospitals and physicians.
According to a new preliminary report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, hospital-acquired conditions are declining.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) last week laid out its 2019 public policy agenda.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released a fact sheet related to the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC).
Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), along with several Democratic Senate and House members, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), announced the release of three bills intended to lower drug prices.
The new 116th Congress was sworn in last Thursday and its leadership contains some Massachusetts members.
A U.S. District Court has issued a permanent injunction to CMS, halting the federal government’s nearly 30% reduction in reimbursements to certain hospital outpatient departments purchasing drugs through the 340B program.
MHA is opposed to a proposed federal rule that will make harder for immigrants to access medical care.
AHA and others are suing the federal government over a new rule that changes how certain off-campus hospital departments are reimbursed for the care they provide patients.
CMS recently released the final rule to update the Medicare fee-for-service outpatient prospective payment system and ambulatory surgical center payment system effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Now that Democrats have regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal (D) will become chairman of the powerful Ways & Means Committee.
Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation have signed on to a letter asking CMS to rescind proposed payment reductions to outpatient departments.
A new study indicates that Medicare patients who receive care in a hospital outpatient department are usually poorer and sicker than those treated in an MD's office.
The American Hospital Association last week announced 340B drug program “good stewardship principles.”
AHA and other hospital interests filed suit in U.S. District Court to stop a nearly 30% reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals for purchase of outpatient drugs under the 340B program.

Resources

Click on the links below for easy access to important information related to state healthcare issues and advocacy.
Visit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts websites below to find information on legislative hearings and other meetings of interest to the healthcare community.
To guide your navigation of the legislative process and assist your advocacy efforts, please visit the following state websites:
MHA has also developed the following documents for your information and benefit: