HHS withdraws 3 proposed rules: 6 things to know

HHS withdrew three proposed rules Tuesday, including one that would have tested a new Medicare Part B drug payment model.

Here are six things to know about the proposed rules.

1. CMS withdrew a proposal to test new Medicare Part B drug payment models. Medicare Part B covers prescription drugs administered in a physician's office or hospital outpatient department. Medicare currently pays physicians and outpatient departments the average sales price of a drug, plus a 6 percent add-on. In March 2016, CMS proposed changing the add-on payment to 2.5 percent plus a flat fee payment of $16.80 per drug per day.  

2. On Tuesday, CMS said it withdrew the proposed rule after receiving 1,350 public comments in response to the proposed changes. CMS said "the complexity of the issues related to the proposed model design and the desire to increase stakeholder input" led to the decision to pull the proposal.

3. HHS withdrew a proposal to require certain health plans to demonstrate HIPAA compliance. HHS issued a proposed rule in January 2014 that would have required controlling health plans — those that control their own business activities — to demonstrate HIPAA compliance for three types of healthcare electronic transactions: eligibility for a health plan, healthcare claim status, and healthcare electronic funds transfers and remittance advice.

4. HHS said after receiving 72 comments in response to the proposal it chose to withdraw the rule to "re-examine the issues and explore options and alternatives to comply with the statutory requirements."

5. CMS withdrew a proposal that would have revised the conditions for participation for certain providers, conditions for coverage for certain suppliers and requirements for long-term care facilities. Specifically, the proposed rule published in December 2014 would have revised certain definitions and patient's rights provisions to ensure same-sex spouses are recognized and afforded equal rights in certain healthcare facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds.

6. Following publication of the proposed rule, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. "In light of the Obergefell decision, we have decided to withdraw the December 2014 proposed rule," said CMS. "We believe that the Obergefell decision has addressed many of the concerns raised in the … proposed rule." 

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