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Capitol Correspondence - 03.03.20

Pushback Continues on Administration’s Proposed Changes to Provider Taxes

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Pending the review of public comments by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on its proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR), CQ Health Policy Report is reporting continued stakeholder opposition to the proposal. Note that ANCOR submitted formal comments on the proposed regulation in February, expressing concerns about the impact the regulation would have on states’ overall Medicaid budgets – we will continue to keep our members informed of the broader policy discussion surrounding this proposal.

As reported by CQ:

“Safety net hospitals have joined the chorus of voices expressing concerns about a proposed rule on Medicaid financial accountability and urged Congress intervene with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Sandhya Raman reports.

The Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation, or MFAR, is a proposed rule that would change how states contribute their share of Medicaid funding. Medicaid is a state-federal partnership, and hospitals and other groups worry that the wide-ranging rule could lead to tax increases and program cuts.

Bruce Siegel, president of America’s Essential Hospitals, speaking at an event on Friday, called the rule “a sweeping regulatory intrusion into your states.” He noted that the rule, if finalized, would be mandatory for states, unlike other controversial changes to Medicaid like block grant funding or work requirements.

“This strikes very hard at the program. It restricts the ability of states that legitimately contribute dollars to have a federal match,” he said. “It would give enormous amounts of power to bureaucrats to decide who gets what going forward.”

Brian Kinkade, vice president of children’s health and Medicaid advocacy at the Missouri Hospitals Association, said Congress needs to urge CMS to hit the pause button on the rule. While hospitals are in favor of accountability for the program, they feel this is not the correct approach.

CMS needs to “take time working with states to develop the scalpel to address those problems. Put away the axe, have a deft hand and stop this ham-fisted approach,” he said.

More than 4,200 comments were submitted to CMS during the rule’s comment period.”