Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


House to Act on MA and ACA Bills

The House is scheduled to vote on bills under suspension of the rules that would make changes to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In his June memo to House Republicans, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced that he would use this week to consider bills from the Ways and Means Committee that reduce the costs of the ACA, stop Medicare rationing, and improve the MA program. As early as Wednesday, the House could begin consideration of H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015, and H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015. H.R. 160 would repeal the ACA’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers, which Republicans believe inhibits innovation in the industry. The bill has the support of 41 Democratic cosponsors and 282 total cosponsors. H.R. 1190 would repeal the ACA’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected panel tasked with reducing Medicare spending should costs rise above a target level. The bill has 20 Democratic co-sponsors and 235 total cosponsors. The Majority Leader’s schedule also includes four bipartisan bills that would makes tweaks to the MA program. H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015, would increase transparency by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to annually report on enrollment data in MA plans. H.R. 2507, the Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act of 2015, would expand an annual regulatory schedule for MA payment rates so that stakeholders have the necessary time to review and provide feedback to ensure seniors continue to have access to quality low-cost plans of their choosing. H.R. 2582, the Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act of 2015, is aimed at improving risk adjustment under MA by delaying the authority to terminate MA contracts for MA plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings. H.R. 2570, the Value Based Insurance Design for Better Care Act of 2015, establishes a demonstration program that removes barriers and allows plans to innovate and incentivize high-value care that promotes better health outcomes through varying their plan benefits based on beneficiary population.

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