NCHC Applauds Important Steps in Mental Health Before the House of Representatives

“NCHC applauds the House of Representatives, especially Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, for the important steps taken today to address mental health and substance abuse in the 21st Century Cures legislation.  These issues are among the greatest public health challenges facing our country today, adding not only to the costs of health care, but destroying families and communities.  And although we oppose the bill’s reductions to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, we are encouraged that Congress has found a path forward on these critical behavioral health issues.

“We are also pleased to see the inclusion of provisions that reform the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program and encourage interoperability of electronic medical records.”

Read full press release here.

NCHC Urges Congress to Preserve Provider Payment Testing and Expansion Authority

WASHINGTON – In a letter submitted Tuesday evening, the National Coalition on Health Care, the nation’s largest and most broadly representative alliance of health care stakeholders, called on Congress to preserve the Department of Health and Human Services’ flexibility to test alternative models of provider payment in Medicare and Medicaid and expand those that are successful.

A rollback of HHS’ capacity to test and expand new payment models would fracture the bipartisan consensus behind MACRA and make health care less affordable over the long term.” said John Rother, NCHC’s President and CEO.  “Instead, NCHC and its members hope to work with Congress and the administration to ensure that the testing and expansion authority, now housed at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, is preserved and deployed as effectively as possible.”

Read full press release here.

 

Broad Stakeholder Coalition Presses Lawmakers to Move Forward with Chronic Care Bill

“By bringing down barriers to better care for the chronically ill in both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, this draft bill promises to spur delivery and benefit innovation across the health care system. The National Coalition on Health Care calls on the Finance Committee, and then Congress as a whole, to move forward expeditiously with meaningful chronic care legislation.

“Better chronic care is fundamental to ensuring health care affordability in the United States. NCHC and its members have long advocated for a strong legislative response, beginning with chronic care in Medicare. We commend the leadership and dedication of the Finance Committee, Chairman Hatch, Ranking Member Wyden, Senator Warner and Senator Isakson, and their staffs.

“Of course, the details of all these policies will be crucial; NCHC and its members will continue to work with Congress to ensure the strongest possible bill. But Senators Hatch, Wyden, Isakson, and Warner have given their fellow lawmakers a remarkable opportunity: to demonstrate that bipartisan commitment can produce constructive solutions to health care affordability challenges. Congress should take that opportunity…and with the cost of care steadily climbing, they should take it soon.”

Read full press release here.

 

NCHC CEO John Rother Calls MACRA Implementation a Win for Affordability

“Today’s final rule on MACRA implementation is a milestone in the shift away from volume-based, fee-for-service physician payment. It represents an important victory in ongoing efforts to improve the affordability of Medicare and health care generally.

“But with costs climbing in Medicare and system-wide, Congress should build on MACRA and make bipartisan chronic care legislation a top priority.

“NCHC will be examining the details of today’s regulation—and if necessary advocating for improvements.  But we know two things already:  First, physicians and other health professionals will face significant incentives to embrace new models of care and delivery. Second, due to statutory barriers, clinician practices and provider organizations are denied the tools needed to optimally respond to those incentives.

Read full press release here.

Medicare Enrollment Bill Takes Steps to Address Coverage and Affordability Gaps

Statement by National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother on the introduction of H.R. 6184, the Medicare Enrollment Protection Act, by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)

“Medicare’s enrollment procedures can be confusing…and every year some beneficiaries inadvertently miss crucial deadlines to sign up for Part B. Missing this deadline can mean an increase in Part B premiums for the remainder of the beneficiary’s time on Medicare – a substantial shift of Medicare’s costs onto the enrollee.  Or it can create coverage gaps that may render ongoing care for chronic or other conditions unaffordable.

Read full press release here.

Examining Selected Proposals in ‘A Better Way to Fix Health Care’: Coverage Policy and Health Care Innovation (Part 2)

In our blog post on July 14, we talked about some of the provisions in the House Republican Health Care Task Force’s health reform proposal — entitled “A Better Way” — that NCHC believes would modernize and improve the Medicare program for beneficiaries and taxpayers alike. In later posts, we will turn a critical eye toward their plans for the children, seniors, and low-income adults who depend on Medicaid and CHIP.  But today, we identify some elements of the Task Force’s coverage and innovation proposals that represent good starting points for future dialogue.

As an organization, NCHC has long been committed to finding common ground solutions to our health care challenges. And  “A Better Way” does provide some room for future conversation. The Task Force report opens with the following quote: “Americans deserve an accessible and affordable health care system that promotes quality care and peace of mind. It should empower patients and support innovation.”  We could not agree more with these goals.  After all, the National Coalition on Health Care was established to support efforts for better and more affordable coverage for all Americans, and we too believe our health care system should focus on patient-centered, high quality health care.

Read the full blog post here: www.nchc.org/examining-selected-proposals-part-2/

 

Examining Selected Proposals in ‘A Better Way to Fix Health Care’

On June 22, the House Health Care Reform Task Force, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, released their blueprint describing how the House Republican caucus’ hopes to reform our country’s health care system, entitled “A Better Way to Fix Health Care.” There is much in their approach that we at NCHC do not support.  To name just a few examples, there is nothing particularly appealing about proposals to roll back federal support for Medicaid and CHIP, raise Medicare’s eligibility age or shutdown the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s crucial work on alternative payment models.  We’ll have more to say on these issues in later blog posts.

But there are ideas in the package that, properly developed, could improve our health care system. So we begin today by taking a close look at a few constructive proposals included in the report’s Medicare section.

Read the full blog post here: www.nchc.org/examining-selected-proposals-in-a-better-way-to-fix-health-care/

 

Access to Better Care Act Could Bring Down Barriers to Affordability

Statement by National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother on the introduction of H.R. 5652, the Access to Better Care Act of 2016, by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

“For years, we have known that High-Deductible Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts are the reality for a growing segment of the population –covering an estimated 19.7 million Americans as of 2015.  And for years, we have known that their deductibles sometimes deter utilization—even when the impacted services and drugs save money and improve outcomes.”

Read the full press release here: http://www.nchc.org/access-to-better-care-act-could-bring-down-barriers-to-affordability/

 

New Bipartisan Medicare Bill Opens Door to Higher Quality, Lower Cost

Statement by NCHC President and CEO John Rother on Introduction of the Independence at Home Act of 2016 by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

“This bipartisan legislation opens the door to home-based primary care for nearly two million of Medicare’s frailest beneficiaries—an approach that is proven to save money for taxpayers even as it improves care quality. The Independence at Home Act ought to be near the top of Congress’ to-do list.”

Read full press release here: http://www.nchc.org/new-bipartisan-medicare-bill-opens-door-to-higher-quality-lower-cost/

 

NCHC Backs Elements of MACRA Rule, But Expresses Concern About Flaws in APM Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC— In comments submitted today to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), an alliance of leading national health care, consumer, labor and business groups, combined support for elements of CMS’ approach to MACRA implementation with concern that a few flawed provisions could undermine the law’s objective of promoting alternative payment models (APMs).

Read full press release here: www.nchc.org/nchc-backs-elements-of-macra-rule/

";