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February 28, 2020 (Cleveland)

The Center Engages in Hospital Advocacy Work on Surprise Billing, Medicaid



Hospital Advocacy WorkIt has been a busy time for federal policymakers and in recent weeks The Center for Health Affairs has been engaging in hospital advocacy work on behalf of members on two key issues: surprise medical billing and Medicaid. The Center submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed Medicaid fiscal accountability regulation as well as a letter to U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-11), who sits on a key committee considering surprise billing legislation.

Proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule
The Center urged CMS to fully withdraw the extensively problematic proposed Medicaid rule, which, according to a study commissioned by the American Hospital Association, will result in an annual reduction of between $37 billion and $49 billion in Medicaid spending, including an annual reduction of between $23 billion and $31 billion in total Medicaid payments to hospitals. The Center pointed out several other critical problems with the regulation, including that it introduces vague and unenforceable standards, would substantially alter state Medicaid financing arrangements, and provides virtually no transition period for states to make changes to their programs.

The American Hospital Association, National Governors Association and the National Association of State Medicaid Directors also submitted comments in opposition to the proposed rule.

Surprise Medical Billing
Also heating up in recent weeks is congressional activity related to surprise medical billing. Last year, committees in both the U.S. House and Senate passed their own versions of legislation, and in December leadership of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee came together to announce a joint proposal. At that time, The Center reached out to the Northeast Ohio congressional delegation urging them not to move forward with it given problematic language on benchmark rates and contracting between providers and insurers.

Since then, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Labor Committee each have developed their own bills. The Center again reached out to Rep. Fudge, a member of Education and Labor, to reaffirm the importance of rejecting rate setting and problematic contracting language, and ensuring that legislation on surprise billing is focused on banning balance billing. The Center continues to engage with the Northeast Ohio congressional delegation on this issue, as part of the hospital effort to promote the Ways and Means bill as House leadership works to consolidate the various pieces of legislation on the issue.

For more on The Center’s hospital advocacy work on these and other policy issues, please contact us.

Tweetable: The Center is engaging in hospital advocacy work on surprise medical billing and proposed Medicaid rules on behalf of members.

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