Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


CMS Releases Long Awaited MACRA Proposed Regulations

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to further implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). This legislation repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and was passed by Congress last year. CMS’ rule spells out the path toward physician use of either the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or an Alternative Payment Model (APM). The release of the proposed rule was welcomed by bipartisan leadership on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who helped author and pass MACRA. Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone said they look forward to reviewing the proposed rule and continuing to be a part of the discussion.

Wakefield Nomination Stalled By Abortion Concerns

Mary Wakefield’s nomination to be Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was dropped from an executive session panel of the Senate Finance Committee to approve federal nominees. While her nomination was once uncontroversial, it is reported that Republicans have decided to delay further action in response to HHS not conducting a sufficient investigation into a California agency’s decision requiring all health insurers in the state to cover abortions. Republicans argue that the California decision is a violation of the Weldon amendment, a federal law preventing discrimination against health insurers which do not cover abortions.

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