Washington Update - September 15, 2017
Two family physicians testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee workforce hearing(energycommerce.house.gov) urging members to immediately reauthorize the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program and the National Health Service Corps. The AAFP submitted a statement in support of these vital programs and the Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement program. The AAFP also signed the joint statement supporting these important programs. The Bakersfield Californian(www.bakersfield.com) published an op-ed on Teaching Health Center GME reauthorization September 7.
On September 13, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee approved(energycommerce.house.gov) several health-related bills, including legislation to reauthorize the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Demonstration program (HR 3263(www.congress.gov)). The AAFP supports the program which has been shown to improve health outcomes for chronically ill patients and produce health savings.
The AAFP and other groups representing a total of 560,000 physicians sent a joint letter September 13 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) opposing ACA repeal legislation(www.cassidy.senate.gov) introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
AAFP cosigned a September 14 letter to the bipartisan, bicameral leadership urging Congress to enact a five-year extension of CHIP funding.
The Senate HELP Committee held two hearings to help stabilize the individual insurance market. The September 12 hearing(www.help.senate.gov) reviewed state flexibility proposals, and the September 14 hearing(www.help.senate.gov) featured health care stakeholders, included two physician witnesses. The AAFP supported a joint letter from key primary care and medical association groups with suggestions to improve the individual market.
AAFP urged(www.aamc.org) Congress in a joint letter dated September 14 to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA helps establish permanent residency for undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children.
Colorado AFP, Michigan AFP, Ohio AFP, and Texas AFP have won the 2017 Leadership in State Government Advocacy Award. The chapters successfully advocated for direct primary care, scope of practice, residency funding, and telemedicine.
On September 11, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 17(leginfo.legislature.ca.gov) to require that drug makers provide advance notification of substantial drug price hikes. The law would also require health plans to disclose which drugs cost them the most. The bill must return to the Senate for approval of amendments before going to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
On September 12, the AAFP nominated Drs. Evelyn L. Lewis and Kevin A. Peterson to the HHS Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections(www.hhs.gov).
AAFP and over 100 other organizations sent CMS a letter September 11 to maintain access to medications under the Medicare Part D program. The letter called for HHS to ensure the continued protection of the categories and classes of drugs identified for unique patient access for epilepsy, mental illness, cancer, HIV-AIDS, and organ transplants.