Washington Update - October 20, 2017

On the Horizon

  • On October 24, the House Appropriations Labor, HHS, Education will hold a hearing on facilities and administrative costs in NIH-funded research.
  • On October 25, the House Energy & Commerce Committee plans a hearing on the opioid crisis.

Washington Update - Full Report

Download this week's report(2 page PDF).

Take Action

Urge Congress to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Without prompt action, states will exhaust federal CHIP funds threatening affordable insurance and access to medical services for millions of children.

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U.S. Congress

The AAFP wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) to applaud their bipartisan compromise aimed at stabilizing the health insurance market. We commended particularly the inclusion of Copper Plans to provide primary care benefits with no cost-sharing. In addition, the AAFP joined other physician societies in a letter to Sens. Alexander and Murray.

On October 19, the AAFP sent a letter to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to comment as they prepare the report of the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and the 2018 National Drug Control Strategy plan.

Centering on the States

At the request of Mississippi AFP, the AAFP wrote to the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure expressing concerns over proposed changes to opioid prescribing rules.

On October 18, the AAFP and Pennsylvania AFP sent a letter to the Pennsylvania House Professional Licensure Committee opposing legislation to expand scope of practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

A bipartisan group of 10 Governors (AK, CO, LA, MA, MT, NV, OH, PA, VA, VT) sent a letter(www.scribd.com) of support for the bipartisan health care proposal presented by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

On October 11, lawmakers of Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago, repealed the county’s one-cent-per-ounce soda tax.

Executive Branch

The AAFP and others sent CMS a letter expressing concerns on Medicare payment methodology for certain clinical diagnostic laboratory tests paid under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS). The AAFP subsequently wrote CMS directly regarding the issue.  CMS estimates that the use of this data will considerably slash CLFS payment rates by about $670 million in 2018.

The AAFP sent the FDA a letter on a proposed rule to extend the compliance date for food nutrition labeling by approximately 1.5 years. The AAFP strongly urged the FDA to begin enforcement as soon as possible.

The AAFP responded to a draft HHS Strategic Plan for FY 2018–2022. The AAFP applauded the plans appropriate emphasis on primary care physicians and their services, urged HHS to consider administrative simplification efforts in the final plan, and commented on several of the plan’s goals.

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