Aetna life and Health Insurance Company reports:
“A weekly compilation from Aetna of health care-related developments in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures across the country.Week of December 6, 2010
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) may have done very little to curb rising health care costs, but the President’s deficit commission may help change that.
The group’s proposals for cutting the deficit include far-reaching measures to cut health care costs, such as revamping Medicare’s payment and cost-sharing systems, revamping federal employee health care coverage and even limiting jury awards in malpractice cases. With a number of groups lining up to oppose certain proposals, swift Congressional action is not expected. But deficit-cutting measures of some kind can’t be too far off. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) issued a statement of support that said “the Commission is absolutely correct that there is no path to long-term fiscal responsibility that does not include a comprehensive approach to reducing health care cost growth.”For more on health care reform, visit our health care reform page on aetna.com.FederalAs expected, the House last week approved a Senate-passed bill to suspend a 23 percent cut in doctors’ Medicare payment rates scheduled for December 1. Since this “fix” only lasts until the end of 2010, the lame duck session is expected to continue working on a permanent or 12-month fix to future cuts scheduled for Medicare reimbursement rates. End-of-year items currently before Congress are likely to be cobbled together in some final and single piece of legislation to be passed just before Christmas. Whether in the same bill or not, likely candidates for this package include: repeal of the onerous 1099 reporting requirement imposed on small businesses, a 12-month or longer Medicare “doc fix,” the START treaty, resolution of the Bush-era tax cuts, and some agreement on the budget (probably in the form of a year-long Continuing Resolution).”