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May 17, 2024

Washington Roundup

Modern Healthcare tells us,

  • “Congress took the first step Wednesday [May 8] to extend expiring telehealth rules, hospital at home services and other programs aimed at rural hospitals.
  • "The House Ways and Means Committee passed the Preserving Telehealth, Hospital, and Ambulance Access Act of 2024 by a vote of 31-0, setting it up for passage by the full House later this year. * * *
  • “One potentially controversial provision in the bill requires pharmacy benefit managers that work with Medicare Part D plans to de-link the compensation they pay themselves from the rebates they secure based on drugs’ high list prices. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) said the provision will save the government about $500 million, although official estimates were not yet available. The provision does not apply to the broader commercial market, though Schneider and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) both called for expansion of the provision to the commercial market. Large PBMs oppose such provisions.”

Fierce Healthcare adds us

  • “A slew of bills targeting enhanced access to care within rural communities have, to the applause of the hospital industry, passed through committee to the full House of Representatives [on May 8].
  • “The rural care bills that made it through the Ways and Means Committee’s Wednesday markup broadly support the financial stability of designated Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Rural Emergency Hospitals (REH) along with other smaller hospitals serving rural communities [, among other objectives discussed in the article].
  • “These included The Preserving Emergency Access in Key Sites Act of 2024 (PEAKS Act), which expands increased emergency ambulance services coverage for patients served by CAHs; The Rural Hospital Stabilization Act, which authorizes new grants funding for investments into CAHs, REHs and small rural hospitals staving off potential closure; and The Second Chances for Rural Hospitals Acts, which expands the eligibility requirements for low-volume hospitals that wish to become REHs.”

On May 10, 2024, Senators John Fetterman (D PA) and Tina Smith (D MN) announced a bill, “the United States Senate Commission on Mental Health Act of 2024. The bill would establish a U.S. Senate Commission on Mental Health tasked with providing Congress and the president independent, expert policy recommendations to improve access to and affordability of mental health care services. * * * Full text of the bill can be found here.

Fierce Healthcare lets us know,

  • “U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Bill Cassidy want to reform how primary care providers get paid through Medicare, and they also want to hear from the healthcare industry about the best way to do it.
  • “Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and Cassidy, a physician and Republican from Louisiana, introduced a bipartisan bill, the Pay PCPs Act, S. 4338, on Wednesday [May 15] to better support and improve pay for high-quality primary care providers. 
  • “The legislation serves as a marker for future primary care legislation and is intended to solicit feedback on a number of important policy questions, the lawmakers said. * * *
  • “Whitehouse and Cassidy also issued a request for information for feedback on policy questions. Feedback can be submitted to [email protected] until July 15, 2024.”

On May 9, 2024, The Society for Human Resource Management alerted us,

  • “The annual limit on HSA contributions for self-only coverage in 2025 will be $4,300, a 3.6 percent increase from the $4,150 limit in 2024, the IRS announced May 9. For family coverage, the HSA contribution limit will jump to $8,550, up 3 percent from $8,300 in 2024.
  • “The jump in the contribution limits is significantly less than the roughly 7 percent increase seen from 2023 to 2024.
  • “The IRS did not yet release the 2025 catch-up contribution for savers age 55 and older. It currently stands at $1,000 for 2024, unchanged from 2023.
  • “Meanwhile, for 2025, a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) must have a deductible of at least $1,650 for self-only coverage, up from $1,600 in 2024, or $3,300 for family coverage, up from $3,200, the IRS noted. Annual out-of-pocket expense maximums (deductibles, co-payments and other amounts, but not premiums) cannot exceed $8,300 for self-only coverage in 2025, up from $8,050 in 2024, or $16,600 for family coverage, up from $16,100.
  • “The IRS also announced that the excepted-benefit HRA limit will be $2,150 in 2025, up from $2,100.”
  • Here’s a link to the IRS announcement.
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