Washington, DC - The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored HR 5122, a bill to prevent Medicare from implementing a Part B pharmaceuticals demonstration project, today. The CBO found that passing HR 5122, introduced in April by former cardio-thoracic surgeon Larry Bucshon (R-IN), would increase direct spending by $395 million over a 10-year period. CBO found that in the first two years after the bill's passage, direct spending would increase by $145 million; increases in future years would be offset by other demonstration projects from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) but these demonstration projects would not fully offset the costs of HR 5122.
CBO's score poses a challenge to HR 5122's potential passage. The legislation is co-sponsored by 22 other members of the House but the Republican majority has been adamant that legislation that increases direct spending be offset with cuts elsewhere.
CMS and the Obama administration have backtracked on the proposed rule's requirements, effectively making the rule a nationwide, mandatory demonstration project, and is expected to release a final rule scaling down the scope of the project and exempting some physician practices, according to Politico.