Update on the Supreme Court Arguments, MedPAC and the House Budget

If the email below is not displayed correctly on your smartphone or email viewer, click here.
To ensure that you always receive our newsletter, please add the e-mail address "ACPAdvocate@healthbanks.com" to your address book.

April 06, 2012
In this issue
» Will Health Reform Law Stay or Go or Change Somehow?

» Panel Suggests Fixing SGR by Freezing or Cutting Physician Payments

» GOP Budget Proposal Could Be a Preview of What's to Come

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to www.acponline.org/advocacy.

Welcome to The ACP Advocate

Today's first story updates you on the Supreme Court arguments that took place last week, days after the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  ACP issued a statement pointing out the many patients who have already benefited from specific programs created by the law, as well as the tens of millions more who will have access to coverage by 2014 if it is allowed to go fully into effect.  ACP has not taken a position on the specific constitutional issues being considered, because the organization's expertise is in evidence-based health policy, not constitutional law.  But, ACP expressed its fervent hope that the Supreme Court will find a way forward that clarifies the constitutional questions while not turning back the key programs needed to expand coverage to nearly all Americans.  We need to wait until June to see what the Court has to say.
Our second story covers the March report from MedPAC.  In its report, the payment commission recommended that physician payments be frozen or cut over the next decade.  We think that Medicare payment methods should be reviewed in order to increase value for patients, but MedPAC's proposal for freezes and across-the-board cuts would hurt patient care.  Something of this magnitude could worsen the already-projected shortages of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists. 

Finally, the last story today looks at the House budget that was proposed by Rep. Ryan.  Though the budget itself won’t actually go anywhere, because the Senate will not be taking it up for vote, this plan could be considered a blueprint for how the GOP is likely to proceed with budget issues in the near-term.  Take a look at the article to see how the budget stacks up to ACP policy.
One last note, Internal Medicine 2012 will be taking place in New Orleans in a little under two weeks.  There will be several advocacy-related sessions there (you can find info about these in the column to the right), and we’ll be releasing a couple of new policy papers.  If you’re there, I hope to have a chance to say hi.

For more coverage of what's happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:  TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org.

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians        


In the news
» Will Health Reform Law Stay or Go or Change Somehow?
  ACP and legal experts weigh in on the possibilities

Three days of oral argument before the Supreme Court last week left the future of the national's health care act more murky than ever, at least in the eyes of outside observers.

Many legal experts, such as lawyer Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst w... » Click to read the full article

» Panel Suggests Fixing SGR by Freezing or Cutting Physician Payments
  ACP takes issue with methodology

The independent commission that advises Congress on Medicare issues is calling for a decade-long freeze in payment levels to primary care physicians as part of its plan to eliminate the Medicare sustainable growth rate.

The annual report to Congr... » Click to read the full article

» GOP Budget Proposal Could Be a Preview of What's to Come
  ACP vows to monitor congressional action to ensure 'strong and appropriate' health care spending

Though the federal budget proposal passed last week by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives may never get an airing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the American College of Physicians plans to keep a close eye on the GOP goals expressed i... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Are you having problems with eRx?
Have you been subject to a Medicare eRx payment penalty despite a pending application for a hardship exemption? CMS has recently announced that their QualityNet Help Desk is prepared to handle complaints. They can be reached at (866) 288-8912, or qnetsupport@sdps.org. If you are unable to resolve the situation with CMS, please take a moment to fill out the form at the above link to let us know about your situation.

Visit the Advocacy Sessions at IM12
If you’ll be in New Orleans, be sure to check out some of the advocacy related sessions being held at Internal Medicine 2012. On 4/19, 4:30 to 5:30 in PN018, How is Health Care Reform Going to Affect You and Your Patients? On 4/20, 7 to 8 in PN019, How Will the 2012 Elections Impact the U.S. Health Care System?, featuring Thomas Miller from the American Enterprise Institute and Dr. Kavita Patel from Brookings. Also on 4/20, 8:15 to 9:15 in PN008, The Role of Subspecialists in the Patient Centered Medical Home. And, on 4/21, 7 to 8 in PN017, Confronting the Need to Conserve Health Care Resources, featuring Stuart Gutterman from the Commonwealth Fund.

AIMn Now on Twitter
Get the latest information about the College’s advocacy efforts and the Advocates for Internal Medicine network (AIMn) through a new Twitter feed, Advocates for IM. There you will find the latest information about the activities of the College’s government affairs office and the hot topics in Washington.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter anymore, unsubscribe here.

© Copyright 2012 American College of Physicians. All rights reserved.
Washington Office | 25 Massachusetts Ave., NW | Washington, DC 20001-7401 | Phone: (800) 338-2746

Featuring articles produced by HealthDay's Custom Content Division

Delivered by HEALTHBANKS, INC. • 15 New England Executive Park • Burlington, MA 01803