House Passes CR with ASCRS-Requested Technical Changes to MACRA and a One-Year Extension of the Misvalued Code Provision

Note: This article appeared before the full Congressional bill passed and was signed by the President. For the full story, click here
On 02/07/18, the House of Representatives passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through March 23. The CR includes the MACRA technical changes requested by ASCRS and the medical community as part of the Medicare extenders package. In addition, the misvalued code offset was changed from the original two-year extension to one, thanks in part to ASCRS advocacy. We are now working on the Senate leadership level to remove the misvalued code extension provision altogether, as it would result in the further reduction of Medicare physician reimbursement.

The House-passed CR includes the following technical changes to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) for which ASCRS has been advocating:

  • Giving CMS the authority to extend the MIPS transition period for an additional three years before having to set the MIPS performance threshold at the mean or median of the previous year’s score
  • Continuing to weigh the Cost category at less than 30% for three additional years
  • Excluding Medicare Part B drugs from MIPS eligibility determinations and payment adjustments

Senate leaders are now negotiating the details of their version of the spending bill, which will need the votes of some Democrats to pass before going back to the House for passage. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) are close to a two-year budget deal that could be included in the Senate CR, as well as some additional provisions. It appears that there is bipartisan support for maintaining the health care provisions. The revised CR will then be sent back for the House’s approval before the current CR expires at midnight tomorrow, Feb. 8. Due to the expected opposition of GOP conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, Democrats will be needed for passage. If the legislation passes, this will give Congress six weeks to agree on an omnibus spending bill through the end of this year.

Hundreds of ASCRS and ASOA members responded to our grassroots alert yesterday. Thank you for taking action. We will keep you updated as details unfold.