Congressmen Negotiate SGR Package

Lawmakers on the House side of the Capitol continue to negotiate a package that would prevent an anticipated cut to Medicare physician payments and include a permanent repeal of payment system. Bipartisan leaders on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released joint statements on Friday afternoon confirming ongoing discussions to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. If the negotiations are fruitful, legislation could be released in the House this coming week. Some conservative lawmakers have expressed concern over the cost of the proposed package and a potential approach that would only provide for partial offsets. Senate Democrats have also expressed concern over various elements of the package, including offsets that would cut Medicare benefits and a short-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The current patch expires on March 31.

House Considers Trauma Bills

On Monday, the House will consider several health care bills under suspension of the rules: H.R. 639, Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act, as amended; H.R. 647, Access to Life-Saving Trauma Care for All Americans Act; H.R. 648, Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act; H.R. 284, Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015, as amended; and H.R. 876, Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care eligibility Act, as amended.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 17: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing titled “America’s Health IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care.”
  • Thursday, March 19: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled “The Affordable Care Act at Five Years.”