Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is expected to push for a uniform definition of charity care, better coordination between the CMS and the Internal Revenue Service on reporting requirements and a federal study on uncompensated care provided by for-profit hospitals, according to a list of more than 226 amendments filed on Monday and expected to be voted on today by the committee.
All told, about 70 of those amendments, which would be attached to a much broader economic stimulus package, would directly impact healthcare providers, hospitals and government payers.
Among the legislative amendments are provisions that would extend a moratorium on a set of Medicare and Medicaid regulations that restrict payments to certain types of hospitals; another that would require HHS to consider an open-source health information technology system; and one that could open the door to Medicare physician payment reform.
More broadly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would allot to states a 5.6% increase in federal Medicaid payments over the next two years and funnel to providers and hospitals about $23 billion in incentive payments to help spur the adoption of health IT.
The Finance Committee, along with the Senate Appropriations Committee, is expected to approve their portions of the bill today.
Healthcare measures under the Senates version of the bill closely mirror those approved at the committee level last week by the House. The Senate would earmark $87 billion for the Medicaid boost and another $22.9 billion to help providers purchase the systems necessary to effectively use electronic health records.
Other provisions include a $1.1 billion investment to spur comparative-effectiveness research, $25 billion for an expansion of the COBRA health insurance program and $25 million to eliminate copayments for American Indians and Alaska Natives in Medicaid.