Medicare's hospital outpatient payment system should be adjusted to cover costs associated with storing, preparing and disposing certain drugs, biologicals and radiopharmaceuticals, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said. Under the Medicare Modernization Act, the CMS as of next year will pay for certain outpatient drugs, biologicals and radiopharmaceuticals, many used in cancer care, based on acquisition cost. The Government Accountability Office is evaluating whether the payment system should be adjusted for the costs of purchasing or administering the products.
In other Washington news, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would establish a 100% federal match for states that expand children's healthcare coverage through Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program under provisions of the bill. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced the bill in the Senate earlier this legislative session. Children would be eligible for the expansion with family income of up to 300% of the federal poverty level. The bill also would establish tax credits for parents who buy insurance coverage for their children. -- by Ralph Loos and Tony Fong