Nancy Galvagni Lobbies Kentucky Congressional Delegation
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 12:54 PM
Last week, KHA President Nancy Galvagni attended a national AHA Regional Policy Board meeting in Washington, DC. While there, she visited Kentucky's senators and several congressmen on September 10. Staying engaged with Kentucky's elected representatives keeps the hospital message on their minds, and she was able to learn more from them about the issues currently facing Congress.
Even though there is a budget deal, Congress has not yet passed appropriations bills required to fund the government. This will not happen before October 1, so it is expected that there will be a continuing resolution passed to fund the government through early December.
It is likely that legislation on Medicaid disproportionate share hospital funding (DSH), drug pricing and surprise biling will all come together at the end of the year.
The good news is that there appears to be agreement on a two-year delay of the Medicaid DSH cuts.
The Senate Finance Committee passed a drug pricing bill, but there are concerns with it, so it is not going forward until there are changes. In the House, Speaker Pelosi is introducing her own drug pricing plan; however, there are currently no public details about that plan.
It appears that hospitals are gaining on the surprise billing issue. Congressmen Brett Guthrie and James Comer both held Town Hall meetings in their respective districts and were able to hear how these bills would be harmful to their hospitals and local physicians.
KHA is urging that, once patients are protected – by just having to pay their in-network cost sharing if they go to an in-network hospital but get an out-of-network charge – then the government should not be involved in setting the payment to the out-of-network provider. Instead the provider and the patient's health plan should come to an agreement; and if they can’t, then the dispute should be resolved through arbitration.
Congressmen Gurthrie, Comer and Thomas Massie support this arbitration provision, yet the next committee taking up the issue – the House Education and Labor Committee – may start with the original No Surprises Act, which did not include a clause on arbitration. That committee may hold a mark up on that legislation this week, so KHA will share more details as soon as they are available.
On the Senate side, Senator Rand Paul supports the KHA position and Senator Mitch McConnell’s staff indicated that the Senate bill is being discussed and would require major change for it to move forward. KHA will continue to provide feedback to Kentucky's Congressmen as these bills advance. Additionally, stay tuned to KHA's social media as staff will use it to spread the hospital message to both government officials and the public.
If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Galvagni at KHA (firstname.lastname@example.org).