WASHINGTON BUREAU — A provision added to the House Energy and Commerce Committee health system change bill could put the states in charge of overseeing the Medicare Advantage program.
Conservative and liberal committee members have made that addition as the result of a compromise agreement. Another provision added would permit – but not require — federal regulators to set Medicare Part D prescription drug prices.
The new provisions are part of the committee’s version of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.
The bill was reported out by a 31-28, party-line vote Friday night, just before the House left for its month-long summer recess.
The Energy and Commerce version of the bill will now be reconciled with the passed by the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. House leaders hope to have a single bill ready for floor action sometime after Sept. 8, when Congress returns from its August recess.
The Medicare Advantage provision would ask the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., to draft standardized marketing guidelines for Medicare Advantage plans. When drafted, the guidelines would replace the current federal marketing guidelines.