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Health Assistance in the Federal Tax Extenders Bill

Yesterday, Congress released a summary of the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (HR 4213), which contains a number of provisions related to health programs, to be considered by both houses next week. Here are the major health-related aspects:

-Extends eligibility for the 65% COBRA premium subsidy for individuals terminated from employment until December 31, 2010

-Creates a 3-year ‘patch’ for the scheduled Medicare physician payment rate (SGR) reductions

-Extends the enhanced Medicaid FMAP through June 30, 2011

-Expands the 340B discount drug program for low-income and uninsured individuals to include inpatient drugs

-Extends hospital geographic 508 reclassifications through FY2011

-Authorizes CMS to collaborate with the IRS to establish a data match to identify fraudulent providers

-Updates the method used to determine the localities used for Medicare’s physician geographic adjustment factor in California, utilizing an approach that is based on metropolitan statistical areas