Antitrust in Healthcare Under Reform
Bills in both the House and the Senate aimed a repealing the federal antitrust exemption enjoyed by insurance companies under the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act highlight the current focus being placed by legislators on reducing anticompetitive behavior in the healthcare sector and promoting healthy competition to improve quality while reducing costs.
Congress Fails to Postpone Medicare Physician Payment Cuts
Recent Senate bill, the "Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009," which would have avoided cuts in the Medicare physician fee schedule of 21.2% for 2010 and further cuts between 5.3 and 5.7% for 2011-2014, failed to move forward on October 21, potentially due to the high cost associated with its proposal to revamp the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system. While there are other legislative efforts to revamp the SGR system and reduce the physician payment cuts, without legislative intervention, physicians will face drastic cuts in reimbursement in 2010.
Recovery Audit Contractors Continue Program Phase-in Schedule
In the coming months through the beginning of 2010, Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) will be finishing outreach programs in each state to introduce unfamiliar Medicare providers to the permanent Recovery Audit Contractor program. They will also inform providers of changes to the program, its impact on their businesses, and what they should expect during its implementation.