flag_160540827On Monday, March 6, 2017, House Republicans released the long awaited proposed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The GOP bill, the “American Health Care Act” (AHCA), repeals or significantly changes major portions of the ACA involving the individual and employer mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion, among others. The AHCA, which is already facing political headwinds and healthcare industry objections, has not yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), so the economic effect and the potential change to the number of people covered by health insurance have not been officially quantified. However, the AHCA’s overall philosophy and goals are clear, and it signals areas of concern for healthcare providers and Medicaid expansion States. In this article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA, this week’s discussion focuses on the significant aspects of the proposed AHCA, potential concerns for healthcare providers, and likely next steps.

Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA – Proposed Replacement Legislation Released

flag_160540827This is the seventh article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA. This week’s discussion focuses on the potential impact on healthcare technology.

Industry experts are predicting that a slow repeal of the ACA will have very little, if any, negative impact on healthcare technology. Healthcare technology grew at an unprecedented pace under the ACA, in part because the ACA contains provisions which provide healthcare technology with incentives to develop and implement new systems aimed at increasing efficiency. Despite the significant amount of uncertainty with a slow repeal of the ACA for many players in the healthcare industry, healthcare technology appears to be poised for continued growth through value-based care, telemedicine, and the increased need for interoperability.

Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Effect on Healthcare Technology

flag_160540827This is the sixth article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA. This week’s discussion focuses on the potential impact on post-acute care providers.

The term “post-acute care provider” encompasses a large and diverse group of healthcare providers that includes nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice agencies and assisted living communities. While each group has its own very unique industry characteristics, they all have at least one thing in common: none of them rely, to any great extent, on private insurance as a form of payment. This is because the vast majority of the patients served by post-acute care providers are older than 65 and, accordingly, are covered by Medicare. So, any repeal efforts relating to the private insurance exchanges that expanded healthcare coverage for more than 30 million Americans will have minimal impact on post-acute care providers. Instead, the key issue facing post-acute care providers relating to the slow repeal of the ACA is the threatened conversion of Medicaid into a block grant program. Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Impact on Post-Acute Care Providers

flag_160540827This is the fifth article in our series on the effect of the “slow repeal” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This week’s article focuses on the potential impact of the slow repeal of the ACA on rural communities and healthcare.

Continued Fragile System Leads to Uncertainty or Closure Causing Economic Ripple Effect Throughout Rural America

There are nearly 5,000 short-term, acute care hospitals in the United States, half of which are in rural areas. About four in 10 rural hospitals are located in the South. More than half of rural hospitals are Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) (53.5%); a smaller share of rural hospitals are designated as Sole Community Hospitals (SCHs) (13%), Medicare Dependent Hospitals (MDHs) (8%), and Rural Referral Centers (RRCs) (11%). All of these designations provide enhanced or supplemental reimbursement under Medicare, using different formulas. Rural hospitals that do not qualify for these Medicare programs are reimbursed as standard Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) hospitals. Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Impact on Rural Healthcare and Communities

dollar-signiStock_000013001848_LargeOn February 15, 2017, the IRS announced on its website that, based upon its review of the White House’s January 20, 2017, executive order, it would continue to accept returns filed by taxpayers that do not report whether the taxpayer has complied with the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Individual taxpayers are required to report on their returns whether they have health insurance coverage, qualify for an exemption to the coverage requirement, or are making a shared responsibility payment. Previously, the IRS had made changes to its software that processes tax returns so that returns filed without these sections completed would be automatically rejected and treated as not filed. Now, those returns will be treated as filed, and the missing information will be addressed by the IRS. Continue Reading IRS announces changes to individual mandate enforcement

A stethoscope and American money on a white background - HealthcEven without potential changes to the Medicare program, MACRA poses a significant challenge for any clinician trying to determine the best strategy to maximize Medicare reimbursement – there are hundreds of pages of guidance in the proposed and final regulations to review and understand. But, at this point, clinicians attempting to assess MACRA must also deal with uncertainty about changes to the Medicare program. A significant source of uncertainty is the Trump administration’s stated intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” and also known as Obamacare), which is being implemented by current legislative efforts. Uncertainty about the ACA should be considered in developing a strategy to comply with MACRA. Continue Reading Managing MACRA – Part VII: What happens to MACRA if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?

flag_160540827This is the fourth article in our series on the effect of the “slow repeal” of the ACA. This week’s article starts a three-part discussion on the potential impact of the slow repeal of the ACA on the health insurance industry, with this week’s focus on the individual health insurance market.

On February 2, 2017, an important House Subcommittee – the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee – began addressing four bills that address portions of the ACA. Although three of the four bills were introduced in previous years, all four measures come at a time when lawmakers are grappling with the impact of “repeal and replace” – or just “repeal” – on the increasingly fragile individual health insurance markets. Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Impact on the Individual Health Insurance Industry

abaEmerging Issues in Healthcare Law is coming to the Big Easy. The American Bar Association’s 18th annual conference is slated for New Orleans March 8-11.

Husch Blackwell is a platinum sponsor of this event featuring the most emergent topics facing the healthcare bar. As the industry faces changes and continues to grow under healthcare reform and enforcement, this conference allows attendees a perfect opportunity to stay ahead of the developments. Continue Reading Don’t miss Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law

flag_160540827President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.), has now completed two confirmation hearings in the Senate. If confirmed, Rep. Price will direct more than $1 trillion of annual spending, as well as assist in developing and implementing a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). First, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a courtesy hearing January 18, and then the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the nomination, held its hearing January 24. The following is a summary of what we learned – or did not learn – over the course of those hearings. Continue Reading Tom Price Confirmation Hearings – What We Have Learned?

pills-colorful492864587This is the third article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA. This week’s discussion focuses on the potential impact of a slow repeal of the ACA on the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma).

Unlike many of the players detailed in our prior articles on the slow repeal of the ACA, Pharma has not made a lot of noise regarding a repeal of the ACA. In fact, Pharma and biotech stocks soared—generally 3 percent to 10 percent—on November 8, 2016, largely because the industry had been preparing for a Clinton victory. A recent quote attributed to one Pharma industry official—“I actually think the Republican Party is a far less certain bet for the pharmaceutical industry”—reflects some of the unease surrounding the change in administration, and the likely repeal of the ACA. Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA and Its Effect on the Pharmaceutical Industry