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Effects of GOP tax measure on providers

Paige Minemyer writes in FierceHealthcare about how the  House Republican tax  legislation could affect healthcare providers. Among her remarks:

“Perhaps most strikingly, the bill proposes cutting a decades-old tax deduction for people with extremely high medical expenses. The deduction, which was first established in World War II, applies to people whose medical expenses make up 10 percent of their adjusted gross income.”

Tom Nickels, the American Hospital Association’s executive vice president for governmental relations and public policy, has complained that the legislation would halt  hospitals’ access to  financing through tax-exempt bonds and  impose a 20 percent excise tax on the pay of some hospital employees.

“For many communities, tax-exempt financing, such as private activity bonds, has been a key to maintaining vital hospital services. If hospital access to tax-exempt financing is limited or eliminated, hospitals’ ability to make new investments in new technologies and renovations in the future could be challenged.”

Provisions in the bill could benefit for-profit hospitals — e.g., the bill would  slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent (not including the loopholes that now let many companies pay a much lower rate than 35 percent).

To read her article,  please hit this link.


Tough new Mass. power against excessive cost growth


A new Massachusetts law gives the state Health Policy Commission firepower to keep insurers’ and providers’ costs to consumers in check, the Boston Business Journal reports.

The law, an extension of  the 2012 Massachusetts health-cost containment act, will, among other things:

1. Let the commission require performance-improvement plans for entities “whose excessive cost growth is deemed to threaten the state’s overall benchmark of keeping growth in total medical expenses below that of gross state product.”

2. Identify the providers and insurers  deemed to have  excessive cost growth, using data from the Center for Health Information and Analysis.

3. Give the commission  the authority to determine whether to require a plan. Organizations  that don’t make a good-faith effort to comply could be fined $500,000.

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