McDermottPlus Healthcare Preview: Week of March 22

MEDICARE SEQUESTER MOVES TO THE SENATE.

MEDICARE SEQUESTER IS UP NEXT. Medicare providers face a 2% across-the-board cut in Medicare payments beginning on April 1, 2021, absent any legislative action. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 1868), led by Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY), that would extend the current Medicare sequester moratorium through the end of 2021. The legislation would also prevent an additional 4% cut by exempting the recently-passed American Rescue Plan from the requirements of the Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010. The bill passed the House with a vote of 246-175. Twenty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the bill.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE SENATE? The bill now heads to the Senate where it needs the support of at least 10 Senate Republicans to pass. We continue to expect Republicans to hold the line on a procedural vote to bring up the bill (which will require 60 votes). We are also watching to see if Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) brings up an alternative bill introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) that extends the current Medicare sequester moratorium through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. If neither bill becomes law by the April 1 deadline, the Department of Health and Human Services may take action to avoid the cuts until Congress addresses the issue. We’ll be watching for the moving pieces to come together as the week progresses.

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