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February 8, 2016

Senate Highway Fund Fix Eyes Delinquent Medicare Providers

The long-reach of health care spending came into play Thursday as the Senate Finance Committee advanced a compromise bill to shore up the highway trust fund.

Tax offsets used to fund the highway fund fix include an increase in IRS tax levy authority to seize Medicare payments of tax delinquent Medicare providers and suppliers. The  adjustment increases the tax delinquency levy from the current 15 percent of payments to 100 percent.

CQ HealthBeat noted this morning that the idea is not new and was suggested in a 2012 plan to fix the highway trust fund.  The earlier effort to target delinquent providers stemmed from a 2008 GAO report  noting that 6 percent of Medicare providers were tax delinquent.

The current highway trust fund funding package vies with a similar House Ways and Means plan that also calls for revisions or “smoothing” of pension contribution rules, which has been suggested in the past to offset the cost of the repeal of a medical device excise tax.

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