Following the latest unsuccessful attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. Senate this week, there remains an effort by leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to develop legislation to stabilize the health insurance marketplace and reduce health care premiums. As Sens. Lamar Alexander, R- Tennessee, and Patty Murray, D- Washington, resume discussions to create bipartisan consensus on a bill, the Wisconsin Medical Society continues to advocate for an extension of the cost-sharing reduction payments to 2019 and other opportunities to reduce premiums and costs.
However, with the federal fiscal year ending Saturday, the deadline for Congress to act on key Society priorities still looms. Without action by September 30, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Federally Qualified Health Centers will lose significant funding that could lead to a loss of both coverage and access where it is needed most. Congress may pass a short-term funding bill in order to work on a longer-term solution, and the Society will continue to partner with other stakeholders to find a long-term and, ultimately, permanent solution for funding these programs.
The Society also remains hopeful that even a short-term legislative package could also include legislation to address the disparity in Medicare reimbursement based on geography, which currently penalizes Wisconsin and Iowa physicians. The Society advanced legislation to resolve this problem, which now has bipartisan support from both Wisconsin and Iowa lawmakers. If it is not included as part of a larger legislative package, the Society will continue to work with Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to move this forward as separate legislation.
Congress will now focus its attention on tax reform, with a goal to pass a bill and send it to the president before the end of the calendar year. A blueprint for tax reform was shared with the public earlier this week, and the Society does not believe any health care taxes will be addressed in this package.
For more information, contact Lisa Davidson, the Society’s vice president of Advocacy and Membership.
Back to September 28, 2017 Medigram