Nation’s Healthcare Leaders Applaud Health Policy Actions in Congressional Spending Package

Provisions, including IPAB Repeal and Chronic Care Actions, Will Protect and Strengthen Medicare

WASHINGTON – The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of leaders from all sectors of healthcare, today applauded Congress for including in its comprehensive spending legislation a package of healthcare provisions that will, among other strides, protect and improve care for Medicare beneficiaries, address healthcare workforce needs, and provide support for the battle against opioid addiction.

“For being billed as a spending measure to keep government operating, this is also quite a comprehensive piece of healthcare legislation,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy.  “We enthusiastically praise the bipartisanship that has led to several important healthcare needs being addressed.”

Ms. Grealy specifically cited action to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and the inclusion of the CHRONIC Care Act that had earlier received U.S. Senate passage.  HLC had led an alliance of nearly 800 patient and healthcare provider organizations from all 50 states urging IPAB repeal.

“By removing IPAB, Medicare beneficiaries no longer face the threat of reduced access to care as a result of arbitrary budget cuts,” she said.  “And by including these chronic care provisions, we will see that Medicare can be strengthened by improving treatment and management of chronic illness, addressing the challenges faced by special needs patients and better utilizing innovations like telehealth.”

Other provisions praised by HLC include:

  • An additional four years of Children’s Health Insurance Program funding, extending the six-year authorization included in the last continuing resolution passed by Congress.
  • Funding for the National Quality Forum to continue advances in quality improvement and value-based care.
  • Resources for mental health services, including support for opioid addiction treatment
  • Important actions to address healthcare workforce needs, including funding for the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.
  • Forestalling spending cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospitals, protecting care for low-income, high-need populations.
  • A two-year funding extension for community health centers
  • Reforms to the VA Choice program, improving the ability of veterans to receive care from private sector health providers.