Texas lawmaker introduces bill to ban ICD-10 implementation

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has introduced a bill that would "prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10 in implementing the HIPAA code set standards."

H.R. 1701 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, but there is no text available yet. So I have no idea how this would work. Although the title pretty much says it all.

[See also: Turkey assaults ICD-10 codes in Congress]

I have no idea how far this will go. It has only been introduced to the House Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means committees. Those committees need to schedule hearings and vote on the bill. Then the full House of Representatives will have to vote as will the U.S. Senate. Then of course President Barack Obama will have to sign it.

I have a hard time believing all that will line up against ICD-10 implementation. But anything can happen. And who knows what kind of backroom deal could be made. Would it be possible that ICD-10 would be sacrificed to save the Affordable Care Act? Again, I have doubts.

While Poe makes the required Republican argument against onerous bureaucratic mandates, there's another favored Republican crusade that can save ICD-10 implementation. No politician wants to be seen as soft on fraud and abuse. So if the proper people explain how ICD-10 coding can be a valuable tool for detecting fraud and abuse, it's a lock.

Again, anything can happen.

Politics as unusual

Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Senate has refused to approve this position since 2006.

I don't think this signals a renaissance of reason. But it's not a bad sign that CMS will have leadership who isn't blocked by angry Republicans. Maybe she has the chops to win over Poe.