Read the Academy's bi-weekly update on legislative and regulatory advocacy for neurology.
Breaking News from Washington, DC
pending legislation affects neurologists, patients
December 11, 2017
Congress Heads to the 2017 Finish Line
They do this every year. Congress heads to the end of the year with many of the year’s “must-pass” legislation “unpassed”, leaving critical government programs hanging in the balance.
The AAN is interested in several of these programs, including:
- FY2018 Appropriations: Congress passed another short-term resolution maintaining funding until December 22. Most expect another short-term funding plan that keeps the government open until early 2018, and if they fail to pass a bill the government would shut down.
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): CHIP provides health insurance coverage to over nine million children and pregnant women with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. Funding expired September 30 and states are running out of money for their programs. The AAN has sent action alerts to US Academy members asking them to urge their members of Congress to act and provide funding for CHIP.
- Medicare/Other Health Extenders: Several policies impacting Medicare are set to expire affecting: Medicare dependent hospitals, rural home health programs, therapy caps, ambulances, and special needs plans.
- The FAST Act: Both the CHIP reauthorization and the Medicare extenders packages are “must-pass” legislation for most members of Congress who have thousands of constituents who rely on these programs. This provides a great opportunity for the AAN.
Either bill will provide a legislative opportunity to include expanded reimbursement for The Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act (S. 431, H.R. 1148), which would allow Medicare to pay for telestroke services in urban and suburban areas. It has passed the Senate as part of the CHRONIC Care Act, and has 175 House cosponsors and passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
The FAST Act is one of the top priorities for the AAN and we are working hard to have the CHRONIC Care Act included in one of the year-end “must-pass” packages.
AAN Weighs in on Tax Reform Provisions
The Senate passed its version of tax reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by a vote of 51-49 in the early hours of Saturday, December 2, along a party-line vote.
The Senate bill must now be reconciled with the House passed bill from November. A House/Senate conference committee has been appointed to work out the differences. The AAN has concerns and sent an action alert and a letter to members of the conference committee asking for consideration of the following issues:
- Repeal of the individual mandate
- Elimination of tax-exempt status for graduate tuition waivers
- Elimination of the student loan interest deduction
- Elimination of the medical expense deduction
Tax reform and must-pass legislation like CHIP and Medicare extenders require action from Congress before the holiday break. The Senate special election in Alabama is also a factor for passing this legislation. The new senator will be seated December 20, which could change the makeup of the Senate where Republicans can only lose two votes. Stay tuned!
AAN, CMS Discuss Burdens of Prior Authorization
- In late-November, the AAN joined a small group of medical societies focused on regulatory relief to discuss prior authorization in Medicare Advantage. We met with several staffers from CMS, including the agency's Deputy Administrator, Demetrios Kouzoukas.
- We presented CMS with information about the burdensome impact of prior authorization on neurologists in the Medicare Advantage program. Many prior authorization requirements appear to be deliberately designed to dissuade physicians from ordering medically necessary services. This has a direct and negative impact on patient care.
- We asked CMS to issue guidance addressing the appropriate use of prior authorization by Medicare Advantage plans and the requirements that must be met if it will be used as a utilization control tool. We also asked CMS to increase its oversight, including the use of audits, of these plans' adherence with existing prior authorization requirements.
Capitol Hill Report Archives
- November 6, 2017: Opioid Epidemic Declared Public Health Emergency
- November 3, 2017: Special Capitol Hill Report: AAN Scores Big Wins in Final 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
- October 23, 2017: Members Host Hatch Visit on SMA Treatment
- October 9, 2017: We Need 50 States to Represent
- September 25, 2017: Graham-Cassidy Bill Fails AAN Health Care Principles
- September 11, 2017: Neurologists Take Advocacy Best Practices into Congressional District Offices
- August 21, 2017: Despite Congress Recess, No Rest for AAN Advocacy
- August 18, 2017: Special Capitol Hill Report: Congressional Investigation Launched into MS Drug Prices
- August 7, 2017: The Rocky Road to Health Care Reform
- July 24, 2017: AAN Board Member Kissela Testifies on FAST Act in Congress
- July 17, 2017: Special Capitol Hill Report: AAN Advocacy Yields Reduced Regulatory Burdens in Proposed Medicare Payment Rule
- July 10, 2017: AAN Stands Against IPAB; FAST Act Gains Support
- June 26, 2017: Cascino Shares Burnout Insights, AAN Opposes Senate Health Care Bill
- June 12, 2017: AAN Fighting Trump's Proposed "Drastic Cuts" to Research Funding
- May 22, 2017: AAN Advocacy on FAST Act, Drug Pricing Gains Traction
- May 8, 2017: Enjoy Updates with New Quick-read Format
- April 24, 2017: AAN to HHS Secretary: Cut the Regulatory Hassles!
- April 10, 2017: AAN Fighting for Regulatory Relief, Brain Research Funding
- March 20, 2017: Republican Health Care Bill Moving - What Happens Next?
- March 6, 2017: Thank You for a Record-Breaking Neurology on the Hill
- February 20, 2017: AAN Declares Health Care Principles
- February 6, 2017: Congress Ponders Obamacare Strategies
- January 23, 2017: Member Input Helps Set Advocacy Priorities
- January 9, 2017: AAN Leaders Attend First Day of 115th Congress
- December 12, 2016: AAN Snags $1.51B for NIH Brain Research!
- November 21, 2016: How Will Election Affect ACA, MACRA?
- November 7, 2016: AAN Advocacy Scores Big Wins for Medicare Neurologists
- November 3, 2016: Special Capitol Hill Report: Positive News for Neurology
- October 24, 2016: What You Need to Know About MACRA Final Rule
- October 14, 2016: Special Capitol Hill Report: CMS Announces Final MACRA Rule
- October 10, 2016: CMS Receptive to AAN Epilepsy, Headache Care Payment Models
- September 26, 2016: AAN Pushes Congress to Action on Zika Funding
- September 12, 2016: CMS Proposes MACRA Modification
- August 22, 2016: AAN Leaders Host Congressional Visits
- August 8, 2016: Effective Advocacy Strategy Leads to Successes on Regulatory Front
- July 25, 2016: Runnin' for Research and Tryin' to Move FAST
- July 11, 2016: Regulatory Advocacy Produces Major Victories in Proposed Fee Schedule and Meaningful Use Reporting Period
- July 8, 2016: Special Report: Major Victory for Neurology in CMS Proposed Medicare Fee Schedule
- June 20, 2016: AAN Advocacy Pushes FAST Act, Increased Research Funding Forward
- June 6, 2016: Larson Leaves His Mark on AAN Advocacy, Practice Successes
- May 23, 2016: AAN Salutes Advocacy Champion; Updates on Medicare Part B, Concussion, and MACRA
- May 9, 2016: MACRA Proposed Rule: How Will It Affect Small/Solo Practitioners?
- April 29, 2016: Special Capitol Hill Report: CMS Announces Proposed MACRA Changes to Medicare
- April 25, 2016: Members Discuss Policy, Politics, and Presidential Polls at Annual Meeting
- April 11, 2016: Canadian Border Can't Keep Out US Politics and Policy!
- March 21, 2016: Congress Hears About Concussion, MACRA, FAST Act
- March 7, 2016: Biggest Neurology on the Hill Tackles Practice, Research Issues
- February 22, 2016: Seizing the Momentum as We Go to DC
- February 8, 2016: This Is What We Will Fight for in Washington, DC
- January 25, 2016: Deep in the Heart of Texas: Speaker Ryan and the AAN
- January 11, 2016: Hard Fight Ends and More Advocacy Victories