Health Policy News Roundup
March, 2021


LUGPA Opposes Illinois HB 3360

While LUGPA typically acts only on Federal legislation, a state bill that would require the payment of prejudgment interest in medical liability cases has passed through the Illinois legislature and, if signed into law, would create an additional financial burden to independent practices already struggling due to the pandemic.  Illinois HB 3360 will increase healthcare costs, drive physicians – including specialists – out of Illinois, and further jeopardize patients’ access to care, and has potential for promulgation in other states.

The bill would amend Illinois law to allow prejudgment interest to be charged in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. This bill allows interest to accrue between the date a defendant has notice of injury or death and the time of judgment. The bill sets the prejudgment interest rate at 9% per year, which would potentially increase the final amount awarded by tens of thousands of dollars. This would also apply to any injury occurring prior to the date the bill becomes law. Additionally, the clock starts on the date the defendant learns about the injury, not when the case is filed. In medical malpractice cases, it could be two years or more before the case is actually filed.

LUGPA wrote a letter to Governor JB Pritzker strongly urging him to veto this legislation, as it would drive up medical malpractice costs and be ultimately passed down to physicians and patients. In an era where we are all striving to reign in rising health care costs, this would do the opposite. LUGPA opposes any burdensome regulation that presents barriers to the advancement of value-based care. We will continue to monitor the situation and oppose such actions by state legislatures.


LUGPA urges Congress to pass Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act

Last year, Congress included provisions in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act that further delayed the Medicare sequester until March 31, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on our medical practices. If no action is taken by Congress, Medicare payment cuts will be reinstated on April 1, which will have a damaging financial impact on LUGPA practices.

Fortunately, the “Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act” was introduced last week in Congress. This bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) would continue the current Medicare sequester moratorium for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. LUGPA is a signatory on letter from a coalition of 43 health care groups to Congressional leaders encouraging them to pass the legislation. LUGPA will continue to monitor the progress of this legislation and will provide updates as they become available. The coalition letter can be found here on the LUGPA website.