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Analysis

America's Essential Hospitals Pushes for CMS to Withdraw the MFAR

By Jack O'Brien  
   August 11, 2020

Additional cosigners on the letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma include the American Health Care Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A coalition of hospital and business groups sent a letter Tuesday morning to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma pressing for the withdrawal of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR).

In November, CMS readied a proposed rule that aimed to create new requirements for state governments to report provider-level information on Medicaid supplemental payments. The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on February 1.

Citing the "unprecedented challenges and uncertain future" created by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic this spring, the coalition wrote that the MFAR could exacerbate the dire situation for provider organizations, state governments, and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Cosigners on the letter include America's Essential Hospitals (AEH), the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the National Governors Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others.

"We remain concerned that CMS issued the MFAR without any meaningful analysis of its impact on states, providers, and most important, Medicaid beneficiaries," the letter read. "The cursory regulatory impact analysis vastly understates the effects of the proposed rule. While we acknowledge the difficulties in precisely estimating the financial impact, that fact alone is reason enough to withdraw the MFAR."

This is not AEH's first public commentary related to the MFAR. Just before the public comment period ended, AEH sent a letter to Verma, urging her to withdraw the rule in its entirety.

Similarly, the AHCA was critical of the proposed rule when it was unveiled in November, saying discussions around Medicaid financing must account for the "vital need to protect provider taxes and supplemental payments, which are often used to offset inadequate base rates."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also been public in discussing proposed healthcare policy changes this year. In April, the organization was part of a coalition that sent a letter to congressional leaders calling on them to protect and expand health coverage for employers and workers.

Related: AHA, AHIP, & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Call on Congress to Expand Coverage Options During Pandemic

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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