IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 10

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Work on Hospital Assessment Program Continues
Reps. Roskam and LaHood Secure Key Committee Slots
340B Drug Pricing Lawsuit Update
IHA Submits MedPAC Comment Letter

Work on Hospital Assessment Program Continues
On June 30, 2018, $3.5 billion in total annual Medicaid funding sunsets under the Illinois law authorizing the Hospital Assessment Program. IHA and many members were in Washington, D.C, Monday and Tuesday to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, representatives from Governor Rauner’s administration, and members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, including U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and all GOP House members, to discuss the redesign of the Illinois Hospital Assessment Program.  Rep. Shimkus (R-15), the senior Republican member of the delegation and a member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, expressed full support for the assessment redesign and will help lead bi-partisan efforts with the Trump administration with Sen. Durbin.  Energy and Commerce has jurisdiction over Medicaid issues.

For several months, IHA has been diligently working with its diverse members, the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services, the bipartisan State Legislative Medicaid Work Group and other stakeholders, to reach consensus on legislation to reform and modernize Illinois’ outdated Hospital Assessment formula. This plan is being crafted for consideration by the General Assembly later this month. Legislative action is needed to allow time to obtain federal approval (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and implementation by July 1, 2018.

See IHA’s fact sheet on the assessment program redesign.  See IHA’s Facebook page for photos.


Reps. Roskam and LaHood Secure Key Committee Slots
This morning, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-6) was appointed as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health and a member of the Subcommittee on Tax Policy of the House Committee on Ways and Means. As chairman, Rep. Roskam will lead the subcommittee in its work under its jurisdiction that includes Medicare and tax credit and deduction provisions of the Internal Revenue Code dealing with health insurance premiums and healthcare costs.

Rep. Roskam has been a member of the Committee on Ways and Means since 2009 and has previously served as Chairman of the Subcommittees on Tax and Oversight.

Also yesterday, Congressman Darin LaHood (R-18) was selected by the House Republican Steering Committee, chaired by Speaker Paul Ryan, to serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means. Rep. LaHood was also appointed to the Subcommittee on Human Resources and Subcommittee on Oversight.

The Committee on Ways and Means, the oldest committee in Congress, is perceived as one of the most important legislative committees as it is the chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives and has jurisdiction over all taxation, trade and tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures. Rep. LaHood's appointment is expected to be confirmed by the full House Republican Conference in the coming days.


340B Drug Pricing Lawsuit Update
Yesterday, the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), America’s Essential Hospitals and three healthcare facilities/systems (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Henry Ford Health System and Fletcher Hospital, Inc.) formally notified the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that they intend to appeal the court’s decision to dismiss the groups’ 340B lawsuit. Their suit sought to prevent the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the Medicare payment cuts scheduled to be applied to all 340B Drug Program eligible hospitals beginning Jan. 1, 2018.  The court’s decision to dismiss was based on the fact that because the lawsuit was filed prior to the actual implementation of the rule, the groups were unable to produce claims for payment that reflected the financial harm resulting from the rule.

Beginning Jan. 1, Medicare payments for 340B Program drugs administered by eligible hospitals will be reduced by nearly 30 percent. The basis for the lawsuit is the contention that the implementation of the rule violates current law and exceeds the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary’s statutory authority.


IHA Submits MedPAC Comment Letter
Today, IHA submitted a comment letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) addressing certain issues to be discussed by the Commission during its January meeting to be held Jan. 11 and 12 in Washington, D.C. MedPAC is an independent agency whose function is to advise Congress on Medicare program policies. MedPAC’s primary focus of this meeting will be voting on the recommendations for changes in Medicare provider payments for 2019 that it set at its December meeting. Other January meeting agenda items include telehealth, the Medicare physician fee schedule and the Medicare Readmissions Reduction Program.

Our letter includes comments on those topics, as well as on issues previously addressed by the Commission, including:

  • IHA’s opposition to reductions in hospital payment for eligible hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Program;
  • Availability of emergency services in rural areas; and
  • IHA’s continued opposition to any Medicare site-neutral payment policies.

MedPAC’s next meeting is scheduled for March 1 and 2.