Trending News Today: Insurers Push Legislators to Maintain Subsidies

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called for increased transparency of Medicare Advantage plans due to concerns that insurers are overbilling the government by billions of dollars, according to Kaiser Health News. Grassley claims that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) failed to collect $125 million in potential overcharges among the plans in 2007. While the plans potentially charged the government $128 million, they only collected $3.4 million, Kaiser reported. Failing to collect money from the overcharges has led to significant financial waste.

Yesterday, health insurers began pressuring GOP leaders to continue government subsidies for individuals purchasing Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans. Under the American Health Care Act, subsidies would be cut and customers would only receive tax credits. Insurers are concerned that without the subsidies, the market would become even more unstable, according to The New York Times. Some companies have already decided to leave the 2018 ACA exchanges over uncertainty of the health law, including funding. However, Seema Verma, CMS administrator, said it was up to Congress how to provide funding and made no promises about the future of subsidies.

Under a new CMS proposal, confidential reports about errors, mishaps, and mix-ups occurring in hospitals may be made public, NPR reported. These reports contain information that may put patients at risk. There is growing concern that private accreditors are not identifying serious issues occurring at hospitals in their public reports. The CMS does its own inspections to validate the public reports, but have discovered discrepancies. The proposal aims to make their own reports publicized to better inform patients about potential safety hazards, according to the article.