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Capitol Correspondence - 01.14.19

Members of Congress Seek More Information on CMS’ Proposed Innovations

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ANCOR is sharing the article below by Politico Pro because, despite the article’s focus on Medicare, the Congressional request discussed could set precedent for future inquiries about the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)’s products. This is of interest to providers because CMMI has also been devoting attention to Medicaid, including signaling their serious interest in getting rid of fee for service models.

“Top Ways and Means lawmakers are pushing the Trump administration to provide greater transparency around Medicare’s innovation center, warning that it’s leaving Congress in the dark on plans to make major changes to Medicare.

In a bipartisan letter to CMS, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and ranking member Kevin Brady say the Trump administration must be more forthcoming about projects from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a division that holds broad power to test policy ideas without congressional approval.

‘Significant policy changes made unilaterally by the executive branch without sufficient transparency could yield unintended negative consequences for beneficiaries and the health care community,’ the lawmakers wrote in the letter obtained by POLITICO. ‘We strongly urge the Agency to provide more sunshine in this process.’

The letter comes as administration officials have touted CMMI as a key lab for testing ideas to move the health system toward paying more for value. While the office has been relatively quiet over the past two years, CMMI is preparing to roll out a controversial pilot allowing Medicare to link the prices of some drugs to lower prices in other countries. It is also expected to soon release new projects affecting providers.

Neal and Brady requested a rundown of the Medicare proposals under development and asked the agency to provide plans for keeping Congress more informed about its work.”