October 30, 2015
A deal was reached between the Obama administration and outgoing Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The two-year budget package would lift federal spending caps for two years, increasing discretionary spending by $80 billion. The deal opens the door for increases in funding for health programs and medical research in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The budget deal contains changes to Medicare reimbursement which would force hospital systems to seek reimbursements under the fee of schedule for doctors’ offices and outpatient sites if the procedures are performed there. Currently, if a health system owns an outpatient center, they can charge Medicare a higher rate as if the procedure was actually performed in one of its hospitals. The new changes would not apply to previously hospital-acquired physician offices or ambulatory service centers (ASCs) as of the date of enactment.
The House passed the budget deal Thursday afternoon by a vote of 266-167 and the Senate followed with a vote of 64-35. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.