July 27, 2009

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Healthcare Reform Legislation: The Ugly…(Part 3 of 3)

So, I’ve expressed my thoughts and opinions on the *good* and *bad* side of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.” Today, here’s the ugly. The House bill doesn’t do enough to control costs.

There will be $119 billion in market basket reductions to hospitals—but over 10 years. Beginning in 2017, federal spending will be reduced $10 billion over 3 years ($1.5 billion in 2017, $2.5 billion in 2018, $6 billion in 2019). In 2012, another $16 billion will be ‘saved’ when hospitals, including critical access hospitals, will lose reimbursement for readmissions, based on the value of each hospital’s percentage of potentially preventable readmissions for three conditions…and in 2013, this expands the policy to an unlimited number of other conditions. So, hospitals have stepped up to the plate—but where are all the rest of the special interests?

On July 16, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed its version of the bill. Although the Senate is essentially following the same path as the House, it is also pursuing premium discounts for enrollees making “healthy lifestyle” choices. Employer mandates are weaker in the Senate version, and there are several other (relatively minor) differences.

Congress will tinker with the balance between the two, but at least the public option is there in both plans. However, even if Congress meets the President’s August 1 deadline, the reform process is only beginning…. The ANA supports this legislation. Do you? Stay tuned, and stay involved!


View my previous thoughts and opinions on the *good* and *bad* side of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.”


References

American Hospital Association. AHA special bulletin: House leaders release reform bill. http://www.aha.org/aha/advocacy-update/2009/090714-bulletin.html. Published July 14, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

Eskow RJ. The House Health Reform Bill: how good is it? Huffington Post website. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/the-house-health-reform-b_b_234593.html. Published July 15, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

H.R. ___. America’s Affordable Health Choices Act bill text. http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf. Published July 14, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

Letter to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, Chairman, Committee on House Ways and Means, US House of Representatives. Huffington Post website. http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/House_Tri-Committee.pdf. Published July 14, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

Mahar M. What the HELP and House bills tell us about the Administration’s priorities—it may be time for Baucus to join his caucus part I. HealthBeat website. http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2009/07/what-the-help-and-house-bills-tells-us-about-the-administrations-priorities-it-may-be-time-for-baucu.html. Published July 15, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

The House Health Reform Bill— just the highlights. Managed Care Matters website. http://www.joepaduda.com/2009/07/the_house_healt/. Published July 15, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.

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