Federal Legislative Update from AANP 11-18-13
November 18, 2013
President, House Take Action to Stop Health Plan Cancellations
President Obama leaned on insurance companies last week to allow consumers to remain in their current health plans even if those plans fail to meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The administrative fix announced by the President Thursday (11/14) effectively extends “grandfather” provisions in the health reform law exempting policies purchased before the law was enacted from the stricter standards, expanding the exemption to include coverage purchased after the law was signed in 2010. The administration is relying on state insurance commissioners and insurance companies to extend those policies, but insurance industry representatives warned that the change could disrupt marketplaces for 2014 and lead to higher premiums.
The White House action came as Congress prepared to step in to stop the cancellations. On Friday (11/15) the House voted 261 to 157 to pass the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” (H.R. 3350), with 39 Democrats crossing party line to support the bill despite a threatened veto. Beyond protecting current policies, the House bill would allow insurers to continue to sell coverage that does not comply with Affordable Care Act standards.
AANP Comments on Latest SGR Reform Draft
In addition to repealing the defective “sustainable growth rate” formula for setting Medicare fee-for-service payment updates, AANP told two congressional committees last week to go farther and eliminate barriers that prevent NPs from providing all the care for Medicare beneficiaries that they are educated and trained to deliver. AANP supports many aspects of the discussion draft released October 30 by the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, including provisions enabling NPs to bill for new payments for coordination of care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.
With only a handful of legislative days remaining before Medicare payments are due to be cut by nearly 25 percent on January 1, the two committees have not scheduled markups or agreed on how the $139 billion ten-year cost of their draft bill would be paid. Some in Congress have suggested that a retroactive measure could be passed in January, either separately or as part of a broader agreement.
Senate Pushes to Pass Drug Compounding Bill
Only days before it adjourns for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Senate plans to move this week to vote on final passage of a bipartisan compromise bill to broaden federal regulation of compounding pharmacies in the wake of recent meningitis outbreaks. Senators voted overwhelmingly last Tuesday (11/12) to move ahead with the “Drug Quality and Security Act” (H.R. 3204), but Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is continuing to press for a vote on his amendment to prevent Members of Congress and their staffers from receiving any federal contribution to purchase their health coverage in insurance marketplaces. The House approved the legislation in September by voice vote.
AANP’s Federal Health Policy Office has established a new email email@example.com to collect your stories and personal experiences with federal barriers to practice. We urge you to share your stories with us as they help to create a compelling narrative on Capitol Hill.
As always, your federal team is here to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact any of us at FederalPolicy@aanp.org.
Federal Policy Team members:
MaryAnne Sapio, VP Federal Government Affairs
Debra Swan, Associate VP Federal Government Affairs
Jan Towers, Sr. Policy Advisor
Dave Mason, Federal Consultant
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