After a month of spirited efforts to accommodate the disparate interests of the Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group, Amendments offered by Representatives Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Fred Upton (R-MI) facilitated the hurried House passage of H.R. 1628 – – the American Health Care Act of 2017. Passed as a “reconciliation bill” (more on that later), the House voted 217-213 on May 4, 2017, to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make sweeping changes to the nation’s health care system.

Continue Reading From Slow Repeal to No Repeal to “Amended” Repeal

The decision by the House Leadership to choose not to bring the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to a vote left industry analysts speculating both about the fate of “Obamacare,” and the prospects for narrower reforms. With bipartisan support to reduce prescription drug prices, it appears as though Democrats and Republicans are working on plans to fix drug prices. This tenth article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA updates our January 12, 2017, article on the pharmaceutical industry and addresses current efforts aimed at reducing drug prices in the U.S.

Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA: Efforts to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

On March 20th, House Republicans rolled out a number of changes to their bill, the American HealthCare Act (AHCA), seeking to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law better known as Obamacare. Although the House Leadership ultimately chose not to bring the AHCA to a vote, this ninth article in our series on the effect of a “slow repeal” of the ACA unpacks the Manager’s Amendment, and offers insights on what may still form the basis for health care legislation.

Continue Reading Slow Repeal of the ACA Just Got Slower…

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