Compromise SCHIP reauthorization bill drops imaging-related provisions

September 25, 2007

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to exclude medical imaging provisions from compromise legislation that would reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, a popular initiative than extends Medicaid benefits to children of uninsured families.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to exclude medical imaging provisions from compromise legislation that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a popular initiative than extends Medicaid benefits to children of uninsured families.House and Senate leaders announced a compromise Sept. 21. Conferees accepted most of the less costly terms of a $35 billion Senate-approved bill to fund SCHIP over five years. The House-passed Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act would have increased funding to $75 billion over the next five years.

None of the Medicare provisions covered in the CHAMP Act appear in the compromise bill, according to Josh Cooper, a senior director of government relations with the American College of Radiology. Proradiology lobbyists opposed some Medicare and imaging-related provision in CHAMP, a bill sponsored by Rep. John Dingle (D-MI):

  • elimination of Medicare global billing for imaging
  • an increase in the discount in technical fees for the imaging of contiguous anatomy
  • mandatory certification for various imaging modalities
  • increases in the assumed utilization rate to 75% and a downward adjustment in the assumed equipment interest rate which is currently 11% in the relative value unit formula

The Bush administration has proposed a $5 billion plan to continue SCHIP, an initiative it says represents a 20% funding increase. It threatened vetoes against both House and Senate reauthorization plans, saying their programs would compete against private insurance plans by extending SCHIP benefits to children in households of four with annual incomes of up to $83,000.

The Senate reauthorization plan passed with a veto-proof margin of 68 to 31. The House vote on CHAMP was 225 to 204, short of a two-thirds majority needed for a veto override.Though CHAMP's Medicare provisions are dead for now, they may be resurrected later this year when Congress considers the next round of Medicare legislation."The House already believes that they have a Medicare bill that has been voted on and passed. At the very least, the House Medicare provision from its CHAMP bill will be the starting point for any new Medicare legislation," Cooper said.For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archive:

House, Senate conferee moves more toward CHAMP Act compromise

Bush veto threat of child insurance bill endangers imaging legislation

Radiologists brace for fallout from crisis of uninsured