American Clinical Laboratory Association’s Annual Meeting Takes Place in Washington, DC, as Congress Considers First Obamacare Repeal-and-Replace Bill
CMS Director speaks at ACLA meeting; acknowledges that labs are alerting the agency to problems with Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) private payer market reporting, but did not say whether a delay in implementing either reporting or lab test fee cuts would be possible
WASHINGTON, DC—Last week, it was symbolic that, as members of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) assembled for their annual meeting, members of the House of Representatives were preparing to vote on the first of several bills intended to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
The symbolism comes from the fact that the nation’s medical laboratories and the United States Congress find themselves at major crossroad. For medical laboratories, the issue is the substantial cuts to Medicare Part B clinical laboratory test fees that are scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018. Predicted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to be a total cut of $400 million in 2018 alone, many expect these Medicare fee cuts to be the single most financially-disruptive event to hit the medical laboratory profession in 25 years.
There’s a similar make-or-break issue unfolding in Congress. Republicans in the House and Senate are caught up in battles to design and pass a series of bills intended to “repeal and replace” the ACA. At their respective crossroads, it remains unclear which path forward each group will follow. (more…)