On December 29, 2017, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and America’s Essential Hospitals over a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policy cutting 340B payments to certain hospitals. The court ruled the lawsuit was premature since the cuts had yet to take effect. The court did not rule on the merits of the claim, leaving open the option of refiling the lawsuit once cuts go into effect. The cuts took effect January 1, 2018.
“We are disappointed in the court’s initial decision,” said Wisconsin Hospital Association President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “However, we will continue to support our member hospitals and our national counterparts as we move forward together in protecting this essential program.”
In December, WHA joined 31 other hospital associations across the country in an amicus brief in support of the AHA’s position on AHA v. Hargan.
On the legislative front, U.S. Reps. McKinley (R-WV) and Thompson (D-CA) introduced legislation in late 2017 to stop the CMS cuts from going into effect. That legislation, HR 4392, is supported by WHA. It currently has 167 cosponsors, including four bipartisan members of Wisconsin’s delegation: Reps. Kind, Moore, Pocan, and Gallagher.
“WHA appreciates the broad bipartisan support in Congress for the 340B program and, in particular, for HR 4392,” said Borgerding. “We urge Congress to support this bill and to halt the 340B cuts as the court case continues to unfold.”
On the other side of this issue is legislation supported by the pharmaceutical industry, HR 4710, introduced by U.S. Reps. Bucshon (R-IN) and Collins (R-NY). The bill would initiate a two-year moratorium on certain new 340B-covered entities (and child sites) as well as require multiple new reporting requirements. WHA opposes this legislation as overly burdensome and restrictive.