New Policies to Fight Superbugs 

A CMS rule and a bipartisan bill to boost payments for advanced antibiotics

This summer, policymakers introduced two reforms to combat the growing problem of bacterial and fungal infections evolving to become immune to treatments. The shorthand for this phenomenon is “antimicrobial resistance” — and it’s a serious public health crisis.
Just last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule that would raise Medicare payments to hospitals that administer advanced antibiotics — the best weapons against antimicrobial resistance. And in June, Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the DISARM Act, which employs a different route to boost payments to hospitals that use these effective antibiotics. Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) introduced the House version of the bill in July.
Proponents of both measures hope the additional payments will help encourage hospitals to purchase and administer innovative antibiotics, when appropriate. That would boost overall demand for new antibiotics, thereby prompting biotech companies to scale up their research and development efforts.
Will these payment reforms succeed in squashing superbugs? Answering this question requires a deep dive into Medicare’s current reimbursement policies. 

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