The House Ways and Means Committee June 2 passed bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) medical device tax and Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and approved a host of other health care-related bills, including legislation that would provide certain exceptions to the moratorium on new long-term care hospital (LTCH) beds and facilities, and a package of bills to revamp the Medicare Advantage (MA) program.

The bills are expected to go to the House floor this month.

The committee voted to repeal the 2.3% tax on many medical devices took effect in 2013. Repealing the tax would cost $26 billion over the next decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

IPAB is tasked with recommending cuts in Medicare spending if it rises above a certain level. For more on the bills, click here

 

AHA weighs in on LTCH, MA legislation. The changes to the LTCH moratorium would be paid for by reducing outlier payments to LTCHs that care for the sickest patients, a provision the AHA last week urged Congress to remove from the bill.

“While the AHA appreciates the committee’s interest in easing the burdens faced by LTCHs, and we do not oppose the underlying legislation, we oppose efforts to pay for such changes through additional payment cuts to these facilities,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack in a June 1 letter to the Ways and Means Committee.  The letter noted the numerous payment reductions LTCHs are preparing to face this year. The association urged the committee not to seek money from the LTCH prospective payment system to pay for the legislation.

In another June 1 letter to the committee, the AHA expressed its support for the MA bills, which it said would help sustain the viability and integrity of the MA program.

“These bills would, improve the risk adjustment methodology, provide a more reasonable timeframe for MA plans to evaluate and respond to [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’] proposed rate actions, encourage MA beneficiaries to access high-value prescriptions and medical services, and allow beneficiaries greater opportunity to enroll and dis-enroll from MA plans (including Part D),” Pollack wrote.