High Court Heard Medicare Formula Arguments
The Supreme Court heard arguments about the Health and Human Services Department implementation of the formula for disproportionate share hospital calculations, determined by measuring the number of inpatient hospital days for which a patient is entitled to Medicare Part A and supplemental security income benefits. And another Republican attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Supreme Court Questions HHS Interpretation Of DSH Formula
Supreme Court justices on Monday were skeptical that the Health and Human Services Department fairly interpreted Medicare law when it changed the formula for disproportionate share hospital calculations. During oral arguments, the justices asked pointed questions about the specific language HHS interpreted to create its DSH formula. They wondered whether the department should receive a wide latitude for interpreting congressional language dictating the policy. "So it strikes me as a situation where I think we ought to be particularly precise in interpreting the language Congress used without any gloss added by the agency," Chief Justice John Roberts said. (Goldman, 11/29)
Hospitals Eye Spending Bill To Forestall Looming Medicare Cuts
Hospital groups are asking lawmakers to prevent billions of dollars in Medicare pay reductions next year as part of a government funding bill that’s on Congress’s agenda for this week. The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care, which represents hospital groups, announced Monday it will launch a television ad campaign in Washington, D.C., urging Congress to stop the cuts. (Ruoff, 11/29)
Cotton Swipes At Fauci: 'These Bureaucrats Think That They Are The Science'
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) slammed White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Monday, likening the top infectious disease expert to a bureaucrat who thinks "they are the science." Cotton, a vocal critic of Fauci, went after President Biden's top medical adviser during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" a day after Fauci pushed back on GOP criticism of himself. Fauci told CBS "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan that it was "dangerous" for Republican senators to criticize him, arguing "they're really criticizing science, because I represent science." (Rai, 11/29)
States, Cities Running Out Of Rental Assistance Monies
Several large states and cities have exhausted their federal rental assistance, the Treasury Department said Monday, in a sign that spending on a massive program aimed at averting evictions has picked up speed. The federal government is forecasting that upwards of $30 billion or about two-thirds of money allocated for rental assistance will be disbursed or allocated by the end of the year. That is a dramatic change from this summer when housing advocates were complaining about the slow pace of distribution. (Casey, 11/30)
Philip Morris IQOS Imports Barred From U.S.; Deadline Passes
Philip Morris International Inc. and partner Altria Group Inc. have to stop importing their IQOS heated-tobacco sticks into the U.S. after a deadline passed without any action by the Biden administration to stop it. Philip Morris and Reynolds America Inc. had each been talking with administration officials since September, when the International Trade Commission ordered the import ban in September after finding that IQOS infringed two Reynolds patents for electrically-powered devices with a heater to generate an aerosol. The order entered a sixty-day presidential review period. (Gretler and Decker, 11/29)