The Senate passed legislation April 14 to reform Medicare fee-for-service payment and extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (H.R. 2) cleared the Senate on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 92 to 8, after being approved by the House March 26 on a 392 to 37 vote.
In addition to permanently replacing the dysfunctional “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) system for updating Medicare fee-for-service payments with stable updates and a merit-based incentive payment system, H.R. 2 also includes a two-year reauthorization of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) including all provisions of the current law such as increased federal matching assistance percentage (FMAP) payments and maintenance of state eligibility and enrollment efforts. Senators rejected an amendment to extend CHIP funding an additional two years.
The bill also includes provisions enabling nurse practitioners to document face-to-face evaluations for durable medical equipment orders and extends a number of expiring Medicare and Medicaid policies, including a two-year reauthorization of funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.