National Advocacy Update

CMA Federal Update:  Health Care Reform


GOP Health Reform Proposal Stalls in Senate

On July 28th, very early in the morning (1 a.m.) ,CMA Federal Relations Vice President Elizabeth McNeil reported the following:

Tonight, in a dramatic vote, three Republican U.S. Senators (John McCain-AZ, Susan Collins-ME, and Lisa Murkowski-AK) joined with the Democrats, including California Senators Feinstein and Harris, to bring down the tortured "skinny" ACA repeal legislation on a vote of 49-51. While Senators Collins and Murkowski had previously expressed their concerns with the bill, McCain's vote came as a surprise to some. Senator McCain said he voted against the ACA repeal bill "because I thought it was the right vote." Shortly after the vote, Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, said, "It's time to move on." Politico reported that he signaled that the GOP should be open to compromises on Obamacare. He said, "the American people are hurting and they need relief." He added that Democrats needed to play a more constructive role in the future. Shortly after the defeat, President Trump tweeted that the 51 Senators had "let the American people down," and he urged Congress to "let Obamacare implode, then deal."

CMA will continue to urge that Congress engage in bipartisan discussions and involve physicians who are on the front lines caring for patients, to adopt needed improvements in our health care system. 

CMA Staff Contact: Elizabeth McNeil, VP, Federal Government Relations, emcneil@cmanet.org


2018 Medicare Fee Schedule Proposed

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently released the proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. While Congress approved a .5% increase in Medicare payment rates there are a number of additional rules under which individual codes are adjusted that result in a mixed bag of changes in payment rates even though the conversion rate for the Medicare pay formula was adjusted slightly upward. Excepting codes where specific adjustments were made, the overall change may be nominal and possibly slightly negative. There are a number of positive proposed changes that would help physicians improve patient care, including:

•A Request for information on regulatory relief
•Expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to all at risk Medicare patients
•Delayed implementation of appropriate use criteria that would have denied payment for advanced imaging services unless the physician ordering the service documented that they had consulted the appropriate use criteria.
•California Geographic Practice Cost Index which marks the second year of the CMA-sponsored California Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCI) fix which updates California's Medicare physician payment regions in 2017 and will transition payment levels upwards for 14 urban California counties misclassified as rural.
CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule through September 11, 2017. and CMA and AMA will be providing detailed comments. The final rule is expected to be released in early November.

For and AMA summary click here, or click on the CMS Fact Sheet or read the full rule.