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Congress Approves Extension of Medicare Sequestration Moratorium

Congress

Congress Approves Extension of Medicare Sequestration Moratorium

Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The United States Congress has approved legislation to extend the Medicare sequestration moratorium through the end of 2021, a major victory for the home health and hospice community.

Extending the Medicare sequestration moratorium has been a key legislative priority for the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) throughout the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In addition to the continued moratorium in H.R.1868, the bill calls for a waiver of the mandatory statutory pay-as-you-go requirement, commonly referred to as the “pay-go” requirement. As a budgetary rule in lawmaking, any new mandatory spending needs to be offset. If offsets are not included, mandatory across the board cuts take effect to cover the new spending. Due to the COVID-19 relief act signed into law earlier this month, the pay-go requirement is set to trigger in January 2022 at a 4.0% provider reimbursement rate cut. The waiver approved would prevent that reimbursement rate cut from taking place.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved similar legislation to extend the sequester suspension through the end of the year, but it does not address the pay-go waiver. The expense of the sequester suspension is offset with an added five months of the sequester in 2031 at 4.0%. Given the discrepancy in the House of Representatives and Senate versions, the House will now need to act on the Senate version. With the House currently set to be in recess the next two weeks, it is not clear at this time when they will hold a vote on this issue, though they are expected to do so.

NAHC remains engaged on the issue, most recently joining with five other trade associations representing various segments of the delivery system in asking Congress for continued relief from the sequester. NAHC will continue to work with these stakeholder groups and Congress on securing this relief, as well as additional legislation to support patients and providers through the public health emergency.

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