The main healthcare news item this week is the American Health Care Act – the bill introduced in the House of Representatives intended to repeal and replace certain elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Many of us subscribe to various listservs and have likely seen numerous articles on this legislation, so we wanted to focus on an item that has not been quite as prevalent in the news.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s backing of new legislation seems to be everywhere. So what do you need to know at this point?
In a Modern Healthcare Exclusive, they reported Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s backing of new legislation that would allow balance billing of Medicare patients. We encourage you to check it out. For now, here’s what we gleaned as the most important aspects of their article from Thursday:
Currently, billing Medicare patients for amounts that exceed Medicare payment rates is not a legal practice. Price is backing legislation that will change this and allow physicians to charge seniors more for their services than what Medicare dictates (aka balance billing). The belief behind this being that more physicians will choose to participate in and accept Medicare.
This idea has been bounced around in the past without much support, but now with republicans in control of both sides of the house, the legislation on what is known as balance billing might come to fruition.
As quoted in Modern Healthcare: “The change in law could be ‘a little dangerous,’ potentially creating inequitable access for low-income people, according to Shawn Martin, senior vice president for policy at AAFP.”
You can read more about this proposed legislation as well as Price’s plans for MACRA here: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20170309/NEWS/170309880?utm_source=modernhealthcare&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170309-NEWS-170309880&utm_campaign=am