therapeutics in the future. For example, if we receive FDA approval for a therapeutic for which reimbursement is available under a federal healthcare program (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid), it would be subject to a variety of federal laws and regulations, including those that prohibit the filing of false or improper claims for payment by federal healthcare programs (e.g., the False Claims Act), prohibit unlawful inducements for the referral of business reimbursable by federal healthcare programs (e.g., the federal Anti-Kickback Statute), and require disclosure of certain payments or other transfers of value made to U.S.-licensed physicians and teaching hospitals, or Open Payments. We are not able to predict how third parties will interpret these laws and apply applicable governmental guidance and may challenge our practices and activities under one or more of these laws. If our past or present operations are found to be in violation of any of these laws, we could be subject to civil and criminal penalties, which could hurt our business, our operations and financial condition.
Similarly, HIPAA prohibits, among other offenses, knowingly and willfully executing a scheme to defraud any health care benefit program, including private payors, or falsifying, concealing or covering up a material fact or making any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement in connection with the delivery of or payment for items or services under a health care benefit program. To the extent that we act as a business associate to a healthcare provider engaging in electronic transactions, we may also be subject to the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA, as amended by HITECH, which restricts the use and disclosure of patient-identifiable health information, mandates the adoption of standards relating to the privacy and security of patient-identifiable health information, and requires the reporting of certain security breaches to healthcare provider customers with respect to such information. Additionally, many states have enacted similar laws that may impose more stringent requirements on entities like ours. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in substantial penalties and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our ability to obtain services, reimbursement or funding from the federal government may be impacted by possible reductions in federal spending.
U.S. federal government agencies currently face potentially significant spending reductions. The Budget Control Act of 2011, or the BCA, established a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which was tasked with achieving a reduction in the federal debt level of at least $1.2 trillion. That committee did not draft a proposal by the BCA’s deadline. As a result, automatic cuts, referred to as sequestration, in various federal programs were scheduled to take place, beginning in January 2013, although the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 delayed the BCA’s automatic cuts until March 1, 2013. While the Medicare program’s eligibility and scope of benefits are generally exempt from these cuts, Medicare payments to providers and Part D health plans are not exempt. The BCA did, however, provide that the Medicare cuts to providers and Part D health plans would not exceed two percent. President Obama issued the sequestration order on March 1, 2013, and cuts went into effect on April 1, 2013. Additionally, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 extended sequestration for Medicare through fiscal year 2027.
The U.S. federal budget remains in flux, which could, among other things, cut Medicare payments to providers. Although the BBA passed in February 2018 enacts a two-year federal spending agreement and raises the federal spending cap on non-defense spending for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the Medicare program is frequently identified as a target for spending cuts. The full impact on our business of any future cuts in Medicare or other programs is uncertain. In addition, we cannot predict any impact President Trump’s administration and the U.S. Congress may have on the federal budget. If federal spending is reduced, anticipated budgetary shortfalls may also impact the ability of relevant agencies, such as the FDA or the National Institutes of Health, to continue to function at current levels. Amounts allocated to federal grants and contracts may be reduced or eliminated. These reductions may also impact the ability of relevant agencies to timely review and approve therapeutic research and development, manufacturing, and marketing activities, which may delay our ability to develop, market, and sell any therapeutics we may develop.