Thanks to lobbying efforts from the House of Medicine, Congress took action this month. The Protecting Medicare & American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act avoided a 4% statutory cut from the PAYGO provisions, extended the moratorium on the 2% Medicare…
Sharing the latest on the interim package and the news from CMS about resuming non-COVID care.
- Interim Package:
- Despite signs of progress, an agreement on this package was not reached today. The Senate scheduled a pro forma session for Tuesday afternoon to try to pass the interim package assuming a deal is reached and the House could vote as soon as Wednesday.
- We can expect to see approximately $300 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (with a portion of these funds set aside for small lenders), $75 billion for providers, $65 billion for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $25 billion for testing.
- COVID-4: The reports of its timing keep changing, but the latest we’ve heard from Hill staff is mid-May for the package.
- House Energy and Commerce Chairman Pallone sent a letter to the Task Force on National Testing Strategy asking inquiring what actions the Administration taking to expand testing and prepare for eventually easing its guidelines on social distancing. Chairman Pallone requested answers to these questions by April 24, 2020.
- Senator Patty Murray released a White Paper outlining the Democrats’ proposal to increase national COVID-19 testing.
- CMS released guidelines for some health care facilities to resume non-emergent non-COVID care in areas where there is a low incidence of COVID-19.
- CMS has updated their FAQ on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) billing here.
- CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced that CMS expects to release data on COVID-19 outcomes specific to race and ethnicity in early May once the agency has claims from April with COVID-19 codes.
- In an effort to ramp up testing, President Trump is invoking the Defense Production Act to produce 20 million more COVID-19 testing swabs.
- Despite announcing that COVID-19 treatment will be covered for the uninsured, the administration still has not announced a plan to operationalize this. POLITICO reported that a portion of the Public Health Emergency Fund could be used for this purpose.