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Quoted from the AMA "Morning Rounds" - Amendment added to health bill in effort to revive ACA repeal

Posted on 4/7/2017 by HCRL Admin

The New York Times (4/6, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that because of "intense pressure from President Trump, House Republicans took a small step Thursday to revive legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, adding a $15 billion fund to help insurers pay claims for their sickest customers." The article says House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) "orchestrated a broad show of Republican support for the proposal, conceived as an amendment to" the American Health Care Act which "collapsed on the House floor two weeks ago." Yet, GOP lawmakers "said they still did not have enough votes to pass the bill, and with the House now on a two-week spring break, time is running out for their planned quick-strike repeal of" the ACA.

The Washington Post (4/6, Cunningham, Eilperin, Debonis) reports that House GOP leaders made the change to the AHCA "after Vice President Pence pressured them to show progress toward passing the bill before lawmakers leave for a two-week recess." On Thursday morning, Ryan unveiled "an amendment aimed at addressing coverage for sicker Americans – and also aimed at pleasing both conservative and moderate Republicans who had opposed the original proposal." He said,

USA Today (4/6, Gaudiano) reports that the $15 billion plan "for a Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program, as described in a memo from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to the caucus, is designed to help states reduce premiums by reimbursing health insurance issuers for high-cost individuals beginning in 2018."

AMA is evaluating legislative proposals as they advance in Congress to determine their impact on patients, physicians and the broader health care system. A core principle is that any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured. The reform proposal must also stabilize and strengthen the individual insurance market, ensure that low/moderate income patients are able to secure affordable and meaningful coverage, and provide adequate funding for safety net programs. You can learn more about our health reform objectives or our latest efforts online.


AMA morning news article: February 9, 2017

Posted on 2/9/2017 by HCRL Admin

Conservative lawmakers in Congress say ACA must be repealed this spring

The Washington Post (2/8, Weigel) reports that on Wednesday, three House and Senate lawmakers said the GOP must completely repeal the Affordable Care Act this spring, “contradicting President Trump’s recent comments that repeal might come as late as 2018.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said, “Repeal needs to get done in the next few months so we can look forward.” Lee, along with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC), who are “both members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that repeal had to happen much more quickly, and could happen without as much disruption as critics feared.”

The Hill (2/8, Hellmann) also reports GOP lawmakers indicated on Tuesday that they are “not happy with the pace” of Congress’ efforts to repeal the ACA. The article quotes Lee as saying, “I don’t think that we should allow it to go beyond that window, the repeal, because I think the American people are suffering.”

AMA will work with Congress and the Administration to improve care, achieve better outcomes for patients, and reduce regulatory burden on physicians. AMA recently urged Congressional leaders that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, they should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies, so patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether they represent a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform. A core principle is that any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured. See the AMA website to learn the latest about our ongoing efforts.


Republican governors split over future of ACA

Posted on 1/20/2017 by HCRL Admin

The Wall Street Journal (1/19, Levitz, Kamp, Subscription Publication) reports that Republican governors are divided over the future of the Affordable Care Act and that many are reaching out to Congress with some in favor of keeping parts of it and others calling for its repeal. For example, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has said he is concerned about the 700,000 people in his state who gained coverage under Medicaid expansion, but Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has called for the law to be repealed immediately.

CNN Money (1/19, Luhby) reports 16 of the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act currently have Republican governors and some of them are calling for Congress to not reverse Medicaid expansion. Many of the governors are also “interested in gaining more control over Medicaid, so they can tailor their programs and institute new rules – such as work requirements and higher premiums and co-pays.”

Meanwhile, the AP (1/19, Beaumont) reports some Republican governors in states that did not expand Medicaid "now have their hands out in hopes the GOP Congress comes up with a new formula to provide insurance for low-income Americans."

AMA will work with Congress and the Administration to improve care, achieve better outcomes for patients, and reduce regulatory burden on physicians. AMA recently urged Congressional leaders that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, they should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies, so patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether they represent a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform. A core principle is that any new reform proposal should not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured. See the AMA website to learn the latest about our ongoing efforts.


Quoted from the AMA “Morning Rounds:” GOP likely to tackle overhaul of Medicaid

Posted on 12/30/2016 by HCRL Admin

The AP (12/29, Cassidy) reports that once President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month, “Republicans will have the opportunity to pull off something they have wanted to do for years – overhaul Medicaid.” The article points out that any changes to Medicaid “hold enormous consequences not only for recipients, but also for the states,” which, along with the Federal government, bear the costs for the program. Initially, Trump had promised not to make any cuts to Medicaid, “but later expressed support for an idea pushed for years by Republicans in Congress – sending a fixed amount of money each year to the states in the form of block grants.” Both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and HHS Secretary nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) advocate the use of block grants.

The Hill (12/29, Sullivan) points out that the number of Medicaid recipients has increased markedly in recent years thanks to the Affordable Care Act. However, Republicans have been warning “of the program’s growing costs, and have pushed to ‘block grant’ the program with money to the states.”


Quoted from the AMA "Morning Rounds" -- CMS finalizes MACRA rule for Medicare payments to physicians

Posted on 10/24/2016 by HCRL Admin

The Wall Street Journal (10/14, Evans, Subscription Publication) reported the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday released the final rule for dispersing Medicare payments to US physicians starting in 2019 under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. Patrick Conway, MD, the acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer of CMS, said, "We know that small practices can provide the same high quality care as larger ones" and asserted the "vast majority" of small physician groups will be successful.

The AP (10/14, Alonso-Zaldivar) reported that "officials said they considered more than 4,000 formal comments and held meetings around the country attended by more than 100,000 people before issuing the final rule," which "eases some timelines the administration initially proposed, and gives doctors more pathways for complying." The AP added that "the American Medical Association said its first look suggests that the administration 'has been responsive' to many concerns that" physicians raised.

Modern Healthcare (10/14, Dickson, Subscription Publication) reported, "Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a conference call with reporters that the thousands of comments received on the proposed rule could be summarized as: 'Make the transition to MACRA as simple and as flexible as possible.'"

Internal Medicine News (10/14) reported, "Physician organizations were supportive of the final rule, particularly regarding how it addresses the concerns of small/solo practices." In a statement, AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD, said that CMS officials "took a significant step last month to address AMA concerns about the original proposal." Dr. Gurman added, "The final rule includes additional steps to help small and rural practices by raising the low-volume threshold exemption, and practices of all sizes will benefit from reduced MIPS reporting requirements. Our initial review indicates that CMS has been responsive to many concerns raised by the AMA."




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