2016 Election Results, Lame Duck Priorities, and Emergency Medical Services Legislation
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Election Results: House, Senate, and Presidency In an upset that surprised many, Donald Trump on November 8 clinched the presidency and Republicans retained control of both the House and Senate. While Trump throughout the election proved to be a polarizing nominee for the Republican Party, exit polls show that 9 out of 10 Republicans came together and voted for him. Trump swept states like MI and WI and easily surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Renewed focus on the Hillary Clinton email scandal, threats from Republican lawmakers to continue their investigation in 2017, low turnout for Secretary Clinton, and the growing movement to disenfranchise Washington elites all contributed to giving Trump the decided victory. Certainly, this result is forcing health care leaders to rethink the future. In fact, it is expected that the next administration will immediately work to repeal or rollback the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and implement other proposals outlined in the GOP policy platform. Click here to read more.
House Passes Bill to Improve Emergency Medical Services On November 14, 2016, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill by voice vote that would provide a statutory framework to allow emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, professionals, and medical directors to fulfill their mission to save lives and alleviate pain while also enabling the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to continue with appropriate oversight to prevent drug diversion. H.R. 4365, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, was introduced by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and was reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year. Click here to read more.
Congress’s Likely Lame Duck Priorities On November 14, members of Congress made their way back to Washington, DC and kicked off their “lame-duck session.” During this period, Congress is expected to begin work on the only “must-do action”: funding the federal government through the next fiscal year and avoiding a government shutdown. However, there are some potential health care priorities that could also get addressed. Click here to read more.
ICYMI: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Final Rule Released The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized payment rates and policy changes for 2017 under the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS). The agency estimates that the updates will increase ASC rates by 1.9 percent and OPPS payments by 1.7 percent during 2017.“We spoke to stakeholders across the outpatient community who care about the quality and value of care that Medicare patients receive,” said Sean Cavanaugh, Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare at CMS. “The policies finalized in today’s rule will not only improve the value of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries, but are also responsive to health care providers who are crucial to outpatient care.” Click here to read more.
Reminder: Deadline to Review CMS Data – November 30 Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted information online that allows physicians to view whether they will be subject to 2017 payment penalties associated with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Value Modifier. Practices that have concerns have until November 30, 2016 to file for an informal review of their data. PQRS penalties are being communicated to physicians by mail as well as in the PQRS feedback reports posted on the CMS website. Value Modifier penalties and bonuses can be found in Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs) posted on the website only. Click here to read more.
State Corner: 2016 Elections Impact on State Government The 2016 election brought a notable shift in state politics with Republicans increasing their control of legislatures. In 24 states, Republicans control both the state legislature and the governorship meaning they will have broad range authority to change their health care systems. With 32 Republican controlled state legislatures and 33 governors, health care will be shaped in most states by the GOP.While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is scrutinized by President-Elect Donald Trump, state legislatures are in a strong position to deliver on Republican-led reforms. Since the passage of the ACA, few Republican-controlled states have accepted federal funding for Medicaid expansion or created their own state-controlled market exchanges. With uncertainty from the federal government, advocates may discontinue or temporarily halt their Medicaid expansion campaigns in Republican controlled states. Click here to read more.