Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., has proposed phasing out Medicare Advantage “overpayments” over 4 years to help pay for expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today included that provision in a draft of H.R. 3162, a bill that would create the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to start going over H.R. 3162 Wednesday, and the House Ways and Means Committee plans to review another, similar SCHIP bill Thursday and Friday.
The full Senate could vote on a third SCHIP bill later this week.
The current SCHIP authorization bill is set to expire Sept. 30th.
The Bush administration has proposed increasing SCHIP funding to an average of $6 billion per year over the next 5 years, from $5 billion today and cutting, or phasing out, past state efforts to use SCHIP funding to pay for health coverage for childless adults and relatively high-income children.
The Senate has proposed increasing tobacco taxes to increase funding to an average of $12 billion per year.
H.R. 3162 would increase SCHIP funding to $15 billion per year.
H.R. 3162 reflects Democrats’ concerns about a Congressional Budget Office analysis that found the Medicare Advantage program costs the government 12% more than the traditional fee-for-service under Medicare program.
The Medicare program now is supposed to cut the reimbursement rate for doctors who treat Medicare patients 10% Jan. 1st, 2008.
H.R. 3162 would eliminate the proposed reimbursement cut and replace it with a 0.5% increase in reimbursement rates in each of the next 2 years.
H.R. 3162 would cover part of the cost of increasing SCHIP funding and the Medicare physician reimbursement rate by imposing a 45-cent increase in the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes.