Happy April everyone! And I know you all have been dealing with wild weather changes to go along with the work changes that have basically changed the way everyone is doing business. Hopefully, by the next Newsletter, they’ll be much to celebrate!
The COVID-19 Virus continues to be the main topic of discussion and activity on Capitol Hill as you know. However, NAHU remains extremely active behind the scenes per the following:
NAHU submitted comments to CMS this past week in regard to the Contract Year 2021 and 2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule. The proposed rule dealt with look-alike plans, ESRD beneficiaries, training and testing requirements, beneficiary contact and more.
NAHU submitted a list of suggestions to the Administration on April 7th, utilizing member input to convey what the DOL, IRS, HHS and CMS should do during this time in order to best protect employers and employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Trump announced the week ending April 3rd that the Administration will cover uninsured patients’ COVID-19 treatment by directly reimbursing providers for their costs, using funds from the $100 billion in provider relief included in the CARES Act. Additionally, CDC, HHS and DOL released new guidance.
Interested in learning more about the Paycheck Protection Program? Compliance Corner member and CEO of MZQ Consulting Jennifer Berman and Daniel Martini, vice president of Congressional relations and political affairs at the American Bankers Association, used their expertise to review the PPP in detail. Watch it on the NAHU site.
Congress passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which will add another $321 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program in addition to billions in funding for providers, testing and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
SBA released a statement discouraging large chains from applying for PPP loans, HHS released further details on how it is using the $100 billion in provider relief under the CARES Act, and other federal agencies released guidance.
(Note: if interested in a position on NAHU’s Legislative Council or one of their many legislative working groups, applications for the Legislative Council and legislative working groups are live. Check out NAHU.org site to apply.)
As reported last time, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law establishing several provisions to protect American workers and assist employers in providing emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19.
In addition, following the FFCRA, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which is aimed at providing direct relief to American taxpayers and businesses. This too was passed and signed into law. The first checks to individuals are being received this week.
Additional discussions are taking place currently on a way to provide another $250 billion to employers.
As far as we know, NAHU’s coalition opposing single payer and the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, continues to spread this message via advertising through both television and digital media, underscoring the perils of adopting a single-payer or Medicare-for-All type plan.
NAHU also continues to work on: COBRA as creditable coverage, Prescription Drug transparency, return to a 40-hour work week rule, changes to Medicare Advantage plans, employer reporting improvements, MLR exclusion, etc. Inroads are being made on all the above so stay tuned.
State House Update
With the Short Session ending March 11th, your ISAHU Legislative Team’s activities have wound down considerably. This is especially true due to the Social Distancing regulations in place which prevents political fund raisers, political party events, one on one meetings, etc. It’s very strange to not see these type events happening particularly in an Election Year.
As reported last time, ISAHU Legislative Committee efforts on SB5 were mostly successful with the final version having carriers as opposed to individual agents/brokers providing the information required, clarified that the provision only pertains to group health contracts, exempted ERISA groups and excluded any additional Fiduciary responsibility.
This accomplishment was made possible in large part due to relationships in both Chambers built up over the last several years. In addition, some relationships with some of the sister organizations were beneficial. The impacts to the industry as a whole will be monitored over the next few months to see what tweeks might be needed in the next Session.
As reported last time, a change to LTC Partnership Plans will now be assigned to a Study Committee and this will be followed closely over the Summer. Again, ISAHU Legislative Committee member David Berman was very instrumental in bringing possible pitfalls to the attention of needed parties.
As normal, Bose Public Affairs (ISAHU lobbyist) assisted on all these issues.
As I like to mention every month, the prevention of such onerous Bills making it through the Legislature is due largely to ISAHU’s continued relationships with folks in the Governor’s office, Lt. Governor’s office and Statehouse that support our industry overall. These relationships also directly impact the efforts of our ISAHU Lobbying firm – Bose Public Affairs, plus the efforts of our sister organizations – Big I, PIA, NAIFA, Insurance Institute, IMA, IN Chamber and NFIB. And it also affects the ongoing efforts of several ISAHU members who continue to work on maintaining such working relationships with Legislators that may impact support for any legislation of assistance or detriment to the industry.
The IDOI issued Bulletin 253 which provides guidance relating to Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-13 as well as provide additional information about coverage for COVID-19 testing services in Bulletin 252. The gist is that any “temporary facilities” established in response to COVID-19 should be treated the same as their primary hospital.
The Legislative committee continues to reconfirm new and previously identified specific individuals to be responsible for various product areas of the industry which should lead to better information sharing on an ongoing basis. It continues to be updated and will be distributed when completed.
NAHU staff continue to be a vital part of ongoing discussions with the 116th Congress. Details are provided in the Washington Updates each Friday. Please be sure to read them which will assist you in responding to your client’s issues.
As always, I would ask you to remember to thank the countless NAHU members around IN and the Country as a whole that continuously put in long hours to ensure the best information possible is being shared with Legislators, HHS, CMS, IRS, DOL, DOI’s and of course other NAHU members. As you know, much of this is always done in anonymity and solely for the benefit of the Association, our members and the general public.
And as always – ongoing THANKS to all the Local Legislative Chairs and other members who serve on the Legislative Committee as well as those that serve on other committees. Your service is vitally important and greatly appreciated.
Ongoing simple message – IF you are not participating in both PAC’s – HUPAC – our Federal PAC and ISAHU-PAC – our State PAC, then PLEASE do so! Both PAC’s help support activities that really do make a difference in the ongoing legislative battles. Information can be found on the www.HUPAC.org , www.nahu.org and the www.ISAHU.org sites.
I and the rest of the ISAHU Legislative Committee greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you to continue to promote real market based “healthcare reform”. Please feel welcome to contact any of us at any time.
Thanks for all you do to continue to improve the healthcare system for your clients and the general public!
And to end this report, hoping and praying all – you, your families, your clients and the general public stay safe and healthy during this current COVID-19 health issue.