NCHC Praises Ways and Means’ Reforms to Hospital Readmissions Policy

“The important reforms to Medicare’s readmissions penalties, as advanced by Representatives Tiberi and McDermott, will enable Medicare to continue reducing readmission rates, while addressing disproportionate and biased penalties against providers serving lower-income populations.

“Improving health care affordability requires improving the value of care delivered—especially in the communities and populations where costly chronic conditions are more prevalent. But it is a fact, documented by MedPAC and peer-reviewed studies, that HRRP’s current methodology penalizes providers serving lower-income patients, draining resources from the places that need them most. In the long-run, continuation of that methodology would generate higher rather than lower cost of care for those patients.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-praises-reforms-to-hospital-readmissions-policy/

Proposed MACRA Rule is the First Step in Transformation of Clinician Payment

“Yesterday’s proposed rule is the first major step toward implementing last year’s historic SGR reform legislation and accelerating clinicians’ transition away from volume-based medicine. Getting these regulations right may determine whether that law succeeds in improving the long-term affordability of health care.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/proposed-macra-rule-is-the-first-step-in-transformation-of-clinician-payment/

 

Medicare’s Latest Primary Care Initiative a Major Step Forward

“The new model for primary care payment announced today is a major step forward.

Strong and substantial evidence shows that a better approach to primary care can improve care and lower costs, if properly structured and supported. As a result, the best private and public employers and commercial plans are investing in advanced primary care payment models.  But the bulk of Medicare practices have been largely dependent on pure fee-for-service payment, and many have struggled to achieve real practice transformation. With today’s announcement, that will begin to change for thousands of health professionals and millions of patients.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/medicares-latest-primary-care-initiative-a-major-step-forward/

NCHC Enthusiastically Applauds Broader Medicare Coverage for Diabetes Prevention Program

“The National Coalition on Health Care enthusiastically applauds the administration’s support for expanding the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

The best way to curb the cost of chronic disease is to prevent onset of the disease in the first place. More than a decade of real-world evidence has demonstrated that pre-diabetics who participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program develop diabetes at lower rates than comparable populations.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-enthusiastically-applauds-broader-medicare-coverage-for-diabetes-prevention-program/

NCHC Praises Senate Chronic Care Effort, Calls for 2016 Legislative Action

WASHINGTON, DC— The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), an alliance of leading national health care, consumer, labor and business groups, submitted a comment letter today offering overall praise for chronic care reforms under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group and urging legislative action this year.

“With resurgent health care costs putting pressure on the Medicare program, family budgets and employer bottom lines, stakeholders welcome this bipartisan effort to tackle our costly chronic disease epidemic,” stated NCHC President and CEO, John Rother.

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-praises-senate-chronic-care-effort-calls-for-2016-legislative-action/

NCHC Encouraged By Push to Avert Medicare Spike and Sequester

“The National Coalition on Health Care is encouraged that Congress appears close to a deal to stop the Medicare spike and partially roll back sequestration.

The projected 52% increase in Medicare Part B premium and deductibles set for January 1 would shift billions of new costs onto beneficiaries, employers and state taxpayers. Continued sequester-level spending caps will strangle the investments in prevention and primary care that we’ll need to keep health care costs down over the long-term.  Allowing either the Medicare spike or sequestration cuts to proceed would be counter-productive to health and fiscal policy.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-encouraged-by-push-to-avert-medicare-spike-and-sequester/

Without Congressional Action, Cost Increases to Hit Medicare Beneficiaries Just After the Holidays

“Unless leaders on Capitol Hill get moving on a bipartisan solution, Congress will be leaving a very expensive lump of coal in the holiday stockings of seniors and disabled Americans.”

“If Congress does nothing, on January 1, millions of Medicare beneficiaries could face an unanticipated 52% increase in their Part B premiums and Part B deductibles will climb from $147 to $223. Just as importantly, this Medicare spike will impose even greater costs on employers’ retiree health plans  and shift billions in Medicaid costs to state taxpayers in all fifty states.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/without-congressional-action-cost-increases-to-hit-medicare-beneficiaries-just-after-the-holidays/

Post-King v. Burwell, NCHC Calls on Congress to Address Costs and Quality

“With today’s verdict behind us, it is time to move forward on the health care issues all Americans care about: cost and quality.

American families and businesses continue to shoulder a growing health care cost burden. Yet the problems driving unsustainable health care expenses—growing chronic disease costs, volume-driven provider payment, and lack of market transparency and competition in prescription drugs—are imminently solvable.

We urge Congress to build on April’s successful  passage of SGR reform and children’s coverage legislation and pursue new, bipartisan solutions to our chronic disease, payment reform, and prescription drug problems.”

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/post-king-v-burwell-nchc-calls-on-congress-to-address-costs-and-quality/

NCHC Submits Bipartisan Chronic Care Policy Reform Recommendations

WASHINGTON, DC –The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) put forward a set of detailed, bipartisan policy recommendations to improve chronic care in a letter yesterday to Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA), who have been appointed to lead the Committee’s chronic care working group. The letter was submitted in response to a call for health care stakeholder input to inform the working group’s efforts.

“Congress should act now to ensure that Medicare policy is aligned with and builds upon what is already working in the private sector, the states and successful federal initiatives,” wrote NCHC President and CEO John Rother in the letter.

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-submits-bipartisan-chronic-care-policy-reform-recommendations/

NCHC Commends Constructive, Bipartisan MA Reforms, Urges Caution on IPAB Repeal

“Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Levin are to be commended for working together to advance legislation improving care and lowering costs in Medicare and Medicare Advantage (MA) in particular.

“Today’s markup will consider several constructive, bipartisan bills, including measures to:

  • Enable MA plans to test Value-Based Insurance Designs (VBID) which lower cost-sharing for beneficiaries seeking the best care and the best providers (H.R. 2581);
  • Provide greater opportunity for public input in the establishment of policies affecting the MA and Part D plans (H.R. 2507); and
  • Instruct CMS to take a second look at risk adjustment policies that may be punishing MA plans that enroll chronically ill beneficiaries (H.R. 2579).

“The Committee will also act on S. 971, a Senate-approved bill to extend the Independence at Home Demonstration, a proven model of in-home primary care which is already improving outcomes and lowering costs.

“The VBID and Independence at Home provisions, in particular, advance alternative models of payment and delivery central to long-term health care affordability. NCHC especially welcomes their consideration today.

“However, the inclusion in today’s markup of legislation repealing the ACA’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is less encouraging. As structured under current law, the IPAB does have flaws, but Congress has yet to unite around an alternative approach to curb Medicare or systemwide cost growth over the long term. With health care costs continuing to squeeze families and employers alike, rolling back existing cost containment mechanisms is ill-advised.

“Instead, going forward, let’s hope lawmakers keep their focus on bipartisan improvements that actually curb costs and improve care.”

For additional information, please see:

NCHC’s endorsement letter for the VBID for Better Care Act of 2015

See full press release: http://www.nchc.org/nchc-commends-constructive-bipartisan-ma-reforms-urges-caution-on-ipab-repeal/