Groups ask Congress to compel HHS to follow congressional mandate
ALEXANDRIA,Virginia – A coalition of free market organizations is asking Congress to compel the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to abide by legislation regarding free-market medical laboratory test payments involving Medicare recipients.
In a letter to key congressional leaders, the coalition, led by the 60 Plus Association, requests that Congress take action to ensure that HHS abide by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), and direct the agency to transition to a market-based payment model for laboratory testing as required by law.
“Unfortunately, HHS chose to disregard Congress’ intent and, instead, use its bureaucratic power to cherry-pick data from fewer than 1% of laboratories. This, in turn, produced the foreordained outcome of greatly reduced reimbursement for laboratory tests and diagnostics,” notes the letter, which was signed by leaders from 17 free market public policy groups.
The coalition praises Congress for having done, “the right thing in directing HHS to develop market based rates,” but asks that Congress, “ensure that HHS follows the law and stops abusing its authority. We ask that you direct HHS to follow the law as written and develop methodology that appropriately captures the full marketplace.”
“This is a key cost driver for millions of seniors who need speedy, affordable medical laboratory access to ensure their quality of health care,” said Jim Martin, chairman and founder of the 60 Plus Association. “Congress did its part in passing the Protecting Access to Medicare Act. Now, Congress needs to make sure the Department of Health and Human Services does its job by implementing the law in a manner that protects seniors though the free market principles of PAMA.”