Health Care Reform Implementation Update March 8, 2012

In the past week, HHS reported that the Affordable Care Act has eliminated lifetime limits on coverage for more than 105 million Americans; a U.S. House subpanel approved a measure to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB); and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.) requested that the Obama administration explain the additional $111 billion it has requested to implement health reform.

IN THE COURTS

There are now only three weeks until the Supreme Court hears Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services.

AT THE AGENCIES

On Monday (3/5), HHS Sec. Sebelius released a report on how the health reform law has eliminated lifetime limits on coverage for more than 105 million Americans. Before ACA, many Americans with serious illnesses, such as cancer, risked hitting the lifetime limit on the dollar amount their insurance companies would cover.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing to collect health insurance exchange construction progress reports from the states. Comments on the information collection activity will be due 60 days after the official Federal Register publication date.

Dr. Jacques Roy of Texas is charged with engaging in Medicare fraud that cost the system $375 million by recruiting homeless and fake patients to register for care that was not provided.

On Friday (3/2), federal officials announced that next month, New Hampshire will be the first state to receive ACA funds to keep seniors out of institutions and in their home communities.

ON THE HILL

On Wednesday (2/29), a House subpanel approved a measure to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Two Democrats, including the panel’s ranking member, joined Republicans in voting to get rid of the IPAB.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) requested that the Obama administration explain why it needs an extra $111 billion to implement part of the health care reform law.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) proposed an add-on to the transportation bill that would require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to provide birth control without co-pays to employees. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said this proposal is "dangerous and wrong" and that "…decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss." On Thursday (3/1), the Senate rejected Sen. Blunt’s measure.

IN THE STATES

On Thursday (3/1), the Washington State Senate voted 27-22 to set new rules for the state’s health care exchange.

On Tuesday (2/28), the Wyoming Senate voted to discontinue funding the Healthy Frontiers Medicaid expansion project.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed legislation that will allow the state to move forward with plans to overhaul its Medicaid Program. The new health law would allow officials to assign certain Medicaid patients to caseworkers who would manage all aspects of their care, with the goal of eliminating redundant tests and procedures and reducing expensive hospital stays.

Idaho House Republicans voted in favor of a panel to scrutinize how the Affordable Care Act is adopted in Idaho. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

On Monday (2/27), legislation was approved in New Jersey to create a state health insurance exchange.

THIRD PARTIES

On Monday (2/27), the American Medical Association (AMA) reiterated its support for Republican-led efforts to repeal the IPAB, created by the Affordable Care Act. The AMA said the IPAB is the wrong way to control health care costs.

Kaiser Health News reports that 63 percent of Americans said they support the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans supply free contraceptives as a preventive benefit for women.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll of the top dozen swing states found considerable opposition to the health reform law. The states surveyed were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

THIS WEEK

On Tuesday (3/6) at 10:00 a.m. in 1100 Longworth, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the impact of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) on medicine.

 

To view our compilation of recent health care reform implementation news, click here.
 

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