Tuesday, February 19, 2008

CRS report analyzes S. 2499, the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007

On December 29, 2007, the President signed S. 2499, the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-173). This Act was passed by the House on December 19, 2007, and by a voice vote in the Senate on December 18, 2007. The Act makes changes to the nation's three major health programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), as well as other federally funded programs. The most prominent provisions in the Act were to (1) suspend the Medicare physician payment cut scheduled to take effect and (2) provide SCHIP funding through March 2009. P.L. 110-173 mandates a 0.5% increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule for the six-month period from January 1, 2008, through June 30, 2008, and provides FY2008 and FY2009 SCHIP funding allotments through March 31, 2009. The Act also extends a number of expiring provisions and programs. These extensions affect Medicare plans and providers and Medicaid payments and programs. The Act also includes funding for some miscellaneous activities. The Act's Medicare extensions include incentive payments for certain physicians, and extensions of current law provisions for Medicare Special Needs Plans and cost-based plans. A variety of extensions also affect how long-term care, rural, and acute care hospitals are paid or classified. Other extensions affect Medicare payments for certain services and providers, outpatient physical therapy services, speech language pathology services, certain pathology laboratories, brachytherapy services, and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. The Act also includes Medicaid provisions designed to extend certain payments and programs, such as Medicaid disproportionate hospital share (DSH) allotments for Tennessee and Hawaii, the Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA) program, and the Qualifying Individual (QI) program, among other provisions. Miscellaneous provisions include using Medicare funds to make grants to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Area Agencies on Aging, and Aging and Disability Resource Centers. The Act also establishes the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) as a congressional agency. The Act provides a number of offsets to pay for the spending increases, including a reduction in the Medicare Advantage stabilization fund in 2012. The Act also includes provisions affecting Medicare's responsibility as a secondary payer for covered services, Medicare payments for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), payments for most Medicare part B drugs, payments for certain diagnostic laboratory tests, and Medicare Long-Term Care Hospitals. This report provides short descriptions of the provisions contained in P.L. 110173.

Get it from Open CRS, http://opencrs.cdt.org/document/RL34360


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