HHS Targets Redo Of ‘Inaccurate’ Hospital Payments
The current method is flawed, some analysts say, leading to a pay gap between low- and high-wage hospitals. Also, Democrats say older voters will be unhappy with President Donald Trump's order to end the payroll tax.
HHS' OIG Continues To Push For Medicare Wage Index Overhaul
HHS' Office of Inspector General on Tuesday continued to push for a complete overhaul of the "inaccurate" wage-based formula used to set hospital payments while CMS takes a piecemeal approach. HHS OIG released its annual report on its unimplemented recommendations, and its proposal for a wage index overhaul was among its top requests. Short of full reform, CMS increased reimbursement of hospitals in low-wage areas, capped any annual decreases in the wage index at 5% and tweaked what's known as the rural floor reclassification to try to preempt gaming of payments by urban hospitals. Analysts expected those budget-neutral changes to shift more than $200 million a year to hospitals in low-wage markets. (Kacik, 8/11)
Democrats Seize On Trump's Payroll Tax Deferral As An Attack On Social Security, Medicare
Democrats are pouncing on President Donald Trump’s new, temporary freeze on payroll taxes as his secret plan to end Social Security and Medicare — traditional priorities for older voters that have not been central themes in this year’s presidential campaign. They hope Saturday’s executive order, coming less than three months before Election Day, will shore up their messaging that Trump is knee-capping the entitlements for seniors he had vowed to protect. (Luthi, 8/10)