March 11, 2024

Biden Releases His FFY 2025 Budget

The President announced his FFY 2025 budget even as all bills for the current FFY 2024 year have not been approved (including Health and Human Services spending).  Biden did sign into law the bill that funds some agencies for the current fiscal year, including a partial retreat on a major Medicare doc cut. Because of the split in Congress, most of his proposals are dead on arrival but serve as campaign differentiators against his GOP opponent, former President Donald Trump.

In the FFY 2025 budget, Biden funds the commitments he made at the State of the Union and more:

  • Expanding the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare drug price negotiations
  • A $2,000 cap on commercial retail drug cost-sharing
  • A commercial insulin cap of $35 per month
  • A Medicaid-like program for those in the coverage gap
  • Almost $1.5 billion in cyber-attack funding
  • $150 billion over 10 years for home and community care expansions
  • Tax increases on the wealthy to help stabilize Medicare
  • Expansion of eligibility in Medicaid and the children’s health program
  • Elimination of children’s health premiums
  • A fix of funding caps in Medicaid for territories
  • Making the temporary enhanced premium subsidies in the Exchanges permanent
  • Major liberalization to ensure biosimilar uptake

Additional articles: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/biden-budget-cybersecurity-insurance-subsidies and https://insidehealthpolicy.com/health-insider/admin-releases-budget-addresses-fallout-over-change-healthcare-attack and https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/providers/congress-reaches-spending-deal-doc-pay-bump-delayed-dsh-cuts-and-more

(Some articles require a subscription.)

#budget2025 #healthcare #healthcarereform

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Change Healthcare Cyber-Attack Update

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urged UnitedHealth Group and other payers to provide financial assistance to providers impacted by the Change Healthcare cyber attack. HHS has cleared the way for advance payments in the traditional Medicare program. Meanwhile, Moody’s Ratings issued a warning that small providers with weak finances are most likely to struggle due to the impact of the cyber attack. In addition, estimates suggest that health providers are impacted by up to $1 billion a day and the attack will impact first-quarter earnings.

Additional articles: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/change-update-cms-relief-unitedhealth-medicare and https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/change-healthcare-cyberattack-provider-financial-impact-moodys/709875/ and https://www.axios.com/2024/03/11/hospitals-doctors-cyberattack-losses and https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2024/03/hhs-wants-unitedhealth-to-take-responsibility-after-cyberattack-00146172

#cyberattacks #changehealthcare #providers #healthplans #hhs

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MedPAC Debates Medicare Advantage Star Program Overhaul

MedPAC has begun again to consider recommending changes to the Medicare Advantage Star program. 

#medpac #medicareadvantage #stars

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Providers Suspicious Of Private Equity

A survey published in JAMA Forum indicates that over 60% of physicians view private equity firms’ role in healthcare negatively.

#privateequityfirms #antitrust #providers

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Biden Seizes On Trump Medicare And Social Security Remarks

President Biden attacked former President Trump today for remarks he made on Social Security and Medicare. In response to a question in long-term solvency of Medicare, Trump declared: “So first of all, there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting. … And in terms of, also, the theft and the bad management of entitlements — tremendous bad management of entitlements — there’s tremendous amounts of things and numbers of things you can do.”

While in his previous administration he did recommend reductions to entitlements, on the campaign trail Trump has said reductions are off the table.  While Biden’s move may be politically smart, it seemed clear that Trump was referring to reducing fraud and abuse.

I happen to be in favor of being honest with citizens that changes on both the benefit and revenue side will be needed to ensure long-term solvency.

Additional article here: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4523816-trump-social-security-medicare-cuts-there-is-a-lot-you-can-do/

#socialsecurity #medicare #entitlements

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UnitedHealth Group Buying Outpatient Surgery Centers

UnitedHealth Group acquired dozens of outpatient surgery centers in 2023.  The move is clearly to find ways to have better control over expenses and align with friendly provider entities.  It has made major investments in acquiring physicians as well.

(Article may require a subscription.)


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— Marc S. Ryan

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