On August 7, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a $740 billion reconciliation package. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill by August 12. This expert perspective describes the healthcare provisions included in the IRA, such as provisions to improve the affordability of healthcare for Medicare and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace enrollees. The expert perspective also describes several significant healthcare policies included in the House-passed Build Back Better Act that were left out of the Senate package.
Targeted Options for Increasing Medicaid Payments to Providers During COVID-19 Crisis
Anne Karl, Jocelyn Guyer and Avi Herring, Manatt Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic changes in utilization that threaten the financial stability of providers and may jeopardize access to care during and after the national emergency. With elective cases generally cancelled, hospitals have sharply lower utilization and revenue. Between March and August 2020, a combination of lost revenue related to fewer elective procedures and emergency department/outpatient encounters, and higher costs related to COVID-19 has put many hospitals in a precarious financial position. In addition, many other providers that rely on face-to-face visits have seen large utilization declines due to social distancing requirements, with outpatient visits falling 60 percent in April 2020. As of July 2020, outpatient visits remain 10 percent below the pre-COVID-19 baseline, even after accounting for the increased use of telemedicine. Most of the Provider Relief Fund dollars have been distributed, yet providers are still experiencing lost revenue and increased costs related to COVID-19. Under any scenario, Medicaid payment strategies—especially for providers serving high numbers of Medicaid patients—remain a critical tool for states to support providers as new COVID-19 hotspots emerge and utilization patterns change. This toolkit has been updated as of August 26, 2020 to reflect more recent federal guidance and examples of specific strategies states implemented between April and August 2020.
SHVS also hosted a companion webinar, the slide deck for which has been updated as of August 26, 2020.