KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Health Care Providers Ask Congress To Expand Telemedicine Coverage In Medicare

The group is also seeking permission for Medicare Advantage plans to tailor coverage for some patients with special needs by offering services such as meal delivery for people with diabetes, rides to doctors' appointments and home modifications. Under current law, any add-ons in Medicare Advantage have to be available to all plan members.

Modern Healthcare: Industry Asks Congress For More Leeway On Medicare Advantage, Telemedicine Coverage
Expanding telemedicine coverage and changing rules that govern Medicare Advantage, ACOs and value-based insurance designs would all help improve health and reduce spending on Medicare patients with multiple chronic conditions, said witnesses at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday. The Senate's bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group has already gotten six of its policy proposals realized through CMS rulemaking and the 21st Century Cures Act. ... Currently, Medicare reimburses telemedicine only in rural areas and immediate access to care can sometimes make a huge difference. (Lee, 5/16)

CQ HealthBeat: Senate Finance Set To Move Ahead On Bipartisan Medicare Bill
The Senate Finance Committee will mark up on Thursday a bipartisan bill designed to change certain Medicare payment policies to improve the care of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes. Committee members say they intend to advance the bill this week, although the Senate is immersed in partisan fights over a GOP bid to revise Democrats’ 2010 health care law. The Finance Committee appears on track to approve its Medicare bill (S 870) Thursday, although it’s uncertain what will happen next. Lawmakers could seek to attach the measure, or parts of it, to other bills that face deadlines later this year. These include the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the extension of caps on Medicare therapy payments. (Young, 5/16)

In other news from Capitol Hill —

CQ HealthBeat: Republican Appropriator Suggests New Mandatory Health Funding
A top Republican House appropriator suggested Tuesday that a federally funded Native American health program should be reprogrammed from discretionary to mandatory funding. In addition, he said, lawmakers might consider moving it from the Interior-Environment Appropriations bill to the Labor-HHS-Education bill. Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, the chairman of the Labor-HHS-Education panel, made the remark at a hearing where tribes raised alarm about proposals to cut fiscal 2018 funding vital to their communities. (Mejdrich, 5/16)

Kaiser Health News: Report: Congressional Ethics Office Probing Rep. Chris Collins’ Aussie Investment
The Office of Congressional Ethics is examining New York Rep. Chris Collins’ role in attracting U.S. investors to an Australian biotech company in which he is the largest shareholder, The Buffalo News reported Tuesday. The story cited unnamed sources who told the newspaper that the office began sending letters to investors seeking information about a month ago. Legally, they are not required to provide it or submit to interviews. (Bluth and Kopp, 5/16)

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