Welcome to The ACP Advocate.
Our first story this week covers the passage of the House bill on health care reform. While this was a major step toward achieving many of ACP’s key priorities for health care reform, Congress still has a long way to go. This week, the Senate released its own version; ACP is analyzing that bill now and we will have an update for you soon on our Web site, and in the next issue of the Advocate on Dec. 11. The Senate likely won’t vote on its bill until December, and even after that happens, the two versions will still need to be reconciled with each other and passed again by both chambers.
In a related note, ACP President Joe Stubbs sent an e-mail to ACP members this week to update you on our priorities for health care reform. If you have not already read his thoughts, you can find them (with a corrected bullet and a corrected link -- I apologize for any earlier confusion these caused) at the link to the right of this letter.
Our second story, as promised, is an analysis of the Medicare Fee Schedule for next year. ACP’s Advocacy Web Site also has answers to your frequently asked questions about the new rule. While the new schedule is considered final, we still expect that Congress will step in to stop the 21 percent overall fee cut that is supposed to start Jan. 1. On Thursday afternoon, the House passed H.R. 3961, a bill that would fix the problems in Medicare payments caused by the sustainable growth rate formula. If they manage to work with the Senate to pass similar legislation, this would provide a fix for not only the 21 percent cut; it would pave the way for the long-term fix we’ve been waiting for.
Our last story examines the alternative plan that the House Republicans proposed during the debate on the House bill. While the alternative proposal was less expensive and ACP did support some of the provisions, overall it was not consistent with three out of four of ACP’s priorities for health care reform.
Finally, for more coverage of health care reform and what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. I encourage you to post your own comments and become part of the discussion taking place among members like you.
And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to: TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org.
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians