Tag Archives: Health Spending

GAO Examines Geographic Variation in Private Payer Spending on High-Cost Procedures

On January 28, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Private Health Insurance: Geographic Variation in Spending for Certain High-Cost Procedures Driven by Inpatient Prices.” In the report, the GAO examines: (1) how spending per episode of care for certain high-cost procedures varies across geographic areas for private payers, and (2) how … Continue Reading

President Signs Government Funding Bill with Health Spending/Policy Provisions

On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds most government agencies through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2015 (funding for the Department of Homeland Security is funded through February 27, 2015). With regard to HHS funding, the bill, among other things: holds CMS funding at FY … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Recent Congressional health policy hearings have addressed the following issues: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on generic drug pricing; The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee focused on its concerns associated with transparency in passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act in a hearing featuring CMS Administrator Marilyn … Continue Reading

MedPAC Issues 2014 Medicare/Health Spending Data Book

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its 2014 Data Book on Health Care Spending and the Medicare Program. The volume provides detailed information regarding national health care and Medicare spending and utilization, sector profit margins, Medicare and dual-eligible beneficiary demographics, Medicare quality, Medicare beneficiary and other payer liability, and related issues.… Continue Reading

Omnibus Government Spending Signed to Fund HHS, Other Departments

President Obama has signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, which provides $1.012 trillion in discretionary funding for the operations of the federal government through September 30, 2014. In addition to setting overall funding levels for HHS agencies, the law specifies funding for numerous HHS policies and initiatives, such as additional funding for … Continue Reading

CBO Offers Deficit Reduction Options

On November 13, 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report entitled “Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2014 to 2023,” which includes more than 100 policy options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next decade. The following is a listing of the CBO’s health policy options, many of which … Continue Reading

CMS Actuary Determines No IPAB Cuts Needed in 2015

The ACA’s controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is charged with submitting detailed proposals to Congress and the President to reduce Medicare per-capita spending if projected spending growth exceeds a specified target based initially on inflation and then growth in the economy. IPAB’s proposals will go into effect automatically unless Congress enacts alternative legislation to … Continue Reading

National Health Care Spending Slowing, CMS Finds

According to new CMS national health spending statistics, U.S. health care spending grew 3.9% in 2010 — the lowest rate of increase in 51 years. The relatively low rate of growth is attributed to lower utilization of health care services. Notably, retail prescription drug spending grew only 1.2%, the slowest rate of growth for prescription … Continue Reading

GAO Highlights Lack of Meaningful Health Care Pricing Information for Consumers

The GAO has issued a report entitled, “Health Care Price Transparency: Meaningful Price Information is Difficult for Consumers to Obtain Prior to Receiving Care.” According to the GAO, consumer difficulties in obtaining meaningful medical pricing information stem from both health care factors (such as the difficulty of predicting health care services in advance, billing from multiple … Continue Reading

Another Short-Term FY 2011 Spending Bill Enacted

The President has signed another short-term government spending bill (H.J.Res. 48), funding government operations through April 8, 2011 as Congress attempts to craft a spending bill for the remainder for FY 2011. The latest bill would cut federal spending by $6 billion, including reductions in funding for HHS state health access grants and certain “no-year” pandemic … Continue Reading

Short-Term Spending Bill Signed Into Law

President Obama has signed into law a short-term spending bill (H.J.Res. 44) that keeps the government funded through March 18, 2011 while Congressional leaders try to reach agreement on a spending package for the rest of fiscal year 2011 (through September 30, 2011). The latest stop-gap bill includes $4 billion in spending cuts, including reductions in … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings on the ACA, Health Care Fraud

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled "The Consequences of Obamacare: Impact on Medicaid and State Health Care Reform." In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held hearings on the FY 2012 HHS budget and implementation of the ACA. On March 2, three Congressional panels held hearings on health care fraud: the Senate Finance … Continue Reading

Lawmakers, President Call for Spending Reductions

On January 25, 2011, the House of Representatives voted 256-165 to approve H.Res. 38, which directs Congress to cut FY 2011 non-security discretionary spending to no more than fiscal year 2008 levels. While H.Res. 38 does not specify planned spending cuts, the Republican Study Committee has offered a plan for achieving such reductions, including cutting funding … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings

The new 112th Congress has already held a number of hearings on health policy issues and other policy areas that also can impact the health industry. For instance, with regard to health reform, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the “Health Care Law’s Impact on Jobs, Employers, and the Economy.” In addition, the … Continue Reading

CMS Releases New National Health Spending Data

CMS reports that national health care spending grew at 4.0% in 2009, to a total of $2.5 trillion. While this is the slowest rate of growth in decades (attributable to the recession), health care spending growth continued to exceed overall economic growth, which declined 1.7%. While private health insurance spending increased only 1.3% in 2009, Medicaid enrollment … Continue Reading

Upcoming Hearing on Health Care Pricing Transparency (May 6)

On May 6, 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on health care pricing transparency legislation, focusing on H.R. 4700, the "Transparency In All Health Care Pricing Act of 2010"; H.R. 2249, the "Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act Of 2009"; and H.R. 4803, the "Patient’s Right To Know Act." … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Health Reform Plan in Preparation for Bipartisan Summit

Today the Obama Administration released an 11-page summary of its health reform proposal in preparation for a bipartisan health reform summit scheduled for February 25, 2010. Among other things, the proposal includes a relatively-detailed discussion how the Administration would promote access to affordable insurance, address health care fraud and abuse proposals, and bridge the differences between the House and Senate reform proposals in other key areas.… Continue Reading

President Obama Releases FY 2011 Budget Request

The Obama Administration has released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011. In its budget documents, the Administration reaffirms its commitment to enacting health reform legislation, and it assumes $150 billion in federal savings attributable to health reform over the 2011-2020 period. The document states that the budget “supports health insurance reform” by expanding patient-centered … Continue Reading

CMS Projects Rising Health Spending Growth in 2009

On February 4, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its health spending projections for 2009, estimating that growth in U.S. national health expenditures (NHE) increased 5.7%, compared to 4.4% in 2008. This 2009 growth rate exceeded the growth in the gross domestic product (-1.1%) and brought total national health spending to $2.5 … Continue Reading

Upcoming Congressional Hearings on President Obama’s Budget Request.

On February 1, 2010, President Obama is scheduled to deliver his proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2011, which is likely to again include provisions that would, if adopted, significantly impact federal health care policies. Congressional panels already have scheduled hearings on the upcoming proposal, including Senate Finance Committee and House and Senate Budget Committee … Continue Reading

National Health Spending Growth Slows But Still Outpaces GDP Growth

CMS has announced that overall US health spending grew 4.4% in 2008 – the slowest rate of growth since CMS began compiling this data in 1960. CMS attributes this spending slowdown to the effects of the economic recession. Nevertheless, health spending continued to increase faster than did the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which grew … Continue Reading
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