Legislative Update: July 7, 2019

Congress returned to work this week after a one-week hiatus and will now be in session until early August. 

During this work period, tackling the rising costs of prescription drugs and taking steps to end “surprise” medical billing will continue to be a top priority for lawmakers.

Before the holiday recess, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee considered and passed out of Committee the “Lower Health Care Costs Act (S. 1895)”. This legislation aims to end surprise medical billing and includes policies to increase prescription drug price transparency and a host of public health provisions. 

In the coming weeks, the House Energy&Commerce Committee may also consider legislation to end surprise billing. The House Ways&Means Committee is also expected to unveil legislation on this topic.  At the same time, the Senate Finance Committee continues to work on bipartisan prescription drug pricing proposals and may markup legislation sometime in July.

Regarding home health and hospice, key lawmakers continue to work with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine the federal budget impact of the "Home Health Payment Innovation Act (S. 433, H.R. 2573)". This legislation would ensure the new Medicare home health Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) does not inappropriately reduce payments for home health services starting in fiscal year 2020. The proposal would also waive homebound rules for certain Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage or Medicare Shared Savings Programs.

ElevatingHOME will continue to strongly advocate for S. 433 and H.R. 2573 and will provide updates on the PDGM legislation.  

Finally, ElevatingHOME and VNAA continue to await the expected July release of the calendar year (CY) 2020 Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System proposed rule. We will provide information about the rule upon its release.