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On the Hill: Association Letters on SES Risk Adjustment, Budget Reconciliation

This week, America’s Essential Hospitals sent congressional leaders a letter signed by more than 100 hospital CEOs and other executives that calls on lawmakers to support legislation to bring socioeconomic status risk adjustment to the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP).

The Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act (S.688/H.R.1343) would help ensure hospitals caring for vulnerable patients are not disproportionately and unfairly penalized for the socioeconomic challenges their patients face. The hospital executives who signed the letter represent more than 400 hospitals and health systems nationwide.

Also on the Hill this week, the House of Representatives continues its search for a new speaker to replace John Boehner (R-OH), who earlier this year announced his retirement. House Committee on Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) said this week he would accept the position only if all major factions within the party – including the volatile House Freedom Caucus – endorse his leadership. He has said he will make a decision Friday.

Meanwhile, the House is expected to take up budget reconciliation legislation that would significantly change the Affordable Care Act, discontinue Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood for one year, and defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Floor consideration is anticipated before the end of the week.

While the bill is expected to pass the House, it likely will face a tougher test in the Senate. America’s Essential Hospitals has expressed serious concerns about the measure in a letter to Congressional leaders. The association is particularly concerned about provisions that would reduce health care coverage, defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and set precedent by eliminating Medicaid funding for specific types of entities.

Other short-term legislative efforts that remain under negotiation include raising the federal debt ceiling before the Nov. 3 deadline and extending federal funding beyond Dec. 11, when last month’s short-term continuing resolution expires.

In committee business, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce holds three health care hearings this week:


About the Author

Jocelyn Wiles was a former manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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