KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Lobbyists Update Strategy To Repeal Health Law Medical Device Tax

The New York Times reports that industry lobbyists are courting Democrats. Meanwhile, in other congressional news, two House lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to improve Medicare's Recovery Audit Program. 

The New York Times: In Shift, Lobbyists Look For Bipartisan Support To Repeal A Tax
When executives from Cook Medical gathered last month to offer Representative Cheri Bustos a tour of their central Illinois medical equipment plant, they had good reason to expect a frosty reception from Ms. Bustos, a new Democratic congresswoman. Cook executives had backed Representative Bobby Schilling, her Republican opponent in last year’s election for Illinois's 17th District seat, after he had joined with other House Republicans to push for the repeal of a new medical device tax imposed to pay for President Obama's health care law. The company said the tax would cut its profits this year by an estimated $15 million, perhaps limiting future expansions. But in a hint of a shift in corporate lobbying strategy now under way in Washington, the industry pitch is now focused on Democrats like Ms. Bustos (Lipton, 3/19).

Modern Healthcare: House Lawmakers Reintroduce RAC Reform Legislation
Two House members are again pushing legislation aimed at improving the Recovery Audit Contractor program, which the lawmakers say causes unnecessary costs and bureaucratic headaches for hospitals. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced the Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2013, which would make changes to the law that created the RAC program, the decade-old Medicare Modernization Act. For instance, the legislation would place a hard cap on Medicare auditors' additional document requests—or "ADRs"—to 2% of hospital claims, with a maximum of 500 ADRs for every 45 days. Graves and Schiff introduced a version of the bipartisan legislation last October during the 112th Congress (Zigmond, 3/19).

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