Big Mo from O-hio…

Good morning, ProviderNation.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), is stumping for observation-stay reforms. In his native heath, Brown was joined by (among others) Ohio Health Care Association President Michael Coury to drum up support for the bill he has sponsored.

It appears to have made an impression, with the news anchor in the above clip condemning that seniors “getting caught in the middle” of “technicalities” and all that. This report comes only a few weeks after AHCA honcho Mark Parkinson spilled some ink in The Hill on observation stays.
As you know, Brown has friends in his crusade. His bill, officially dubbed the “Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act,” has 134 sponsors in the House and 25 in the Senate. In the House, the bill has been referred to the Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee; Brown’s bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Reps. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Jim McDemott (D-Wash.) have separately introduced bills of their own that each would tackle the observation stay problem. Their bills have been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

Speaking of the Senate Finance Committee, there are some rumblings here in Washington that Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) could get his ambassador’s gig within the month. It may be nothing but usual D.C. gossip (we produce more than we consume locally), but some Lobbying-American types are hearing that Baucus’ Senate colleagues may take up his nomination as ambassador to China in the next 20 days or so.

This matters because Baucus has been pushing hard for a permanent doc fix. There is, of course, broad consensus that something needs to be done, but someone still needs to write the stuff out, and Baucus’ staffers are already peeling off for more lucrative jobs on K Street and points beyond.

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