Tags: Medicare | medicare | MACRA | reauthorization

MACRA: Pros and Cons of Medicare Reform Law Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015

By    |   Saturday, 20 Jun 2015 02:08 PM

The Medicare Reform Law and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was passed in an effort to make Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program more efficient.

There are pros and cons to the law to be considered.

MACRA will repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) and improve Medicare payments to physicians so they will continue to accept Medicare patients and will fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to POPVOX. It will also encourage chronic care management and reduce administrative burdens for providers.

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MACRA is known as the “doc fix” bill because of its effect on physicians. Its passage prevented a 21 percent payment cut for services provided to those on Medicare and helps to maintain the availability of physicians who are willing to accept Medicare payments, according to ObamaCare Facts. It also makes permanent the qualifying benefit level for Medicare Part B premium subsidies previously set. The law extends the Medicare Advantage special needs plans through 2018.

MACRA extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. CHIP is a program that provides health insurance to children of low- and moderate-income families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. It was created in 1997 and provides coverage for more than eight million children nationally who do not have access to other health coverage, according to Insure the Uninsured Project.

One important component of MACRA is that it decreases funding for supplemental Medigap plans and also requires higher Medicare premiums for seniors with annual incomes greater than $133,500 beginning in 2018, ObamaCare Facts said.

As with any law, there are supporters and detractors to the law.

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010 and known as Obamacare, offers people an opportunity to enroll in health care exchanges to receive health care at affordable rates. These programs often result in higher cost-sharing for participants and may result in people with children opting out of the exchanges, according to ObamaCare Facts. Failure to fund CHIP leaves these children without coverage.

Some children would be ineligible for subsidies if their parents meet the affordability standards through their employers but whose parents are unable to afford family coverages, Insure the Uninsured Project said. Funding CHIP allows coverage to continue for children whose parents can’t afford employer health benefits.

MACRA specifically addresses improper Medicare payments and implements a methodology to recover payments and reduce Medicare payment errors, according to National Law Review.

Detractors also have opinions about MACRA and CHIP. Those whose Medicare premiums are going to be raised tend not to be supportive of the changes.

Additionally, opponents argue that children don’t need CHIP since the exchanges are available through Obamacare, Insure the Uninsured Project said.

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The Medicare Reform Law and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was passed in an effort to make Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program more efficient.
medicare, MACRA, reauthorization
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2015-08-20
Saturday, 20 Jun 2015 02:08 PM
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