H.R. 4796 is Dead

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on October 6, 2010
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H.R. 4796, The Medicare Secondary Payer Enhancement Act, has virtually no chance of becoming law this year. Despite the best efforts of the MARC Coalition and the sundry insurance interests that back the bill, our Capitol Hill lobbyist tells us that there are 3 bills that will be pursued in the lame duck session following the election, and H.R. 4796 is not one of them.

What you say? MEDVAL has a Capitol Hill lobbyist on retainer? Well not exactly. However, we do lease our Columbia, MD headquarters from a limited partnership he controls. And every now and again he is inclined to do us a favor and check his sources for our benefit. His sources on the Hill indicate that the bill is not going anywhere this session despite its relatively broad backing.

Failure of H.R. 4796 should not be seen as a negative. It is HARD to get legislation passed, expecially something that no one truly understands the implications of, such as the MSP. No congressman facing reelection is going to get any mileage out of supporting a  bill ammending a relatively obscure piece of law like the MSP, at least not in its current form clearly representative of the corporate interests that support it. Nonetheless, H.R. 4796 is a good first attempt at modifying some overreaching CMS policies and will most likely be reintroduced in the next Congress. Its best chance of passage will likely be as an add on to SCHIP legislation due to be proposed in the spring. Who knows, MARC may have some luck sneaking it onto the end of one of those 3 bills at the 11th hour before Congress adjourns for Christmas break (kind of like CMS did to us with mandatory reporting in 2007).