SMART Act Moving Forward
On Tuesday September 12, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health voted on a number of bills, the SMART Act (HR 1063) being among them. The bill was amended to alleviate some of the burden placed upon the government. Among the most notable changes, CMS is given 120 days notice of settlement, the Secretary determines the annual recovery threshold with GAO review rather than the chief actuary doing it, the knowing, willful and repeated qualifies to the change from shall to may in the MMSEA penalty was dropped, CMS was given time to find an alternative to social security numbers and the 3 year SOL for employees to report was dropped. Because these amendments were made, the CBO must approve the bill before the full Energy & Commerce Committee can consider it, which is scheduled for September 20th.
Even if the bill gets through subcommittee, it would still have to go before Ways and Means for consideration and there is no time scheduled for health legislation between now and the October recess. That basically means nothing would potentially happen in the House until after the election and it is rumored that the Senate is waiting for movement in the House before it takes it up for consideration.
All in all, this is all evidence that there is movement on the Hill and at least interest in the bill, unlike HR 5284 and all 4 of its previous manifestations. While this bill will resolve but a few of the MSP concerns we all share, a successful passing of this into law is a step in the right direction and perhaps if we can maintain the Congressional attention, we can potentially propose additional MSP legislation to fix the rest.
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