House Approves Important Health Care Legislation, Could Consider Medical Liability – Take Action Today!
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House Committee Approves FDA and Related Legislation The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to advance the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 on June 7. The bill will reauthorize a package of user-fee agreements (including the Medical Device User Fee Agreement) set to expire in September 2017. This reauthorization will renew each agreement through 2022.

“FDARA would reauthorize the agency’s critically important drug and medical device user fee programs, making improvements to each of them based on lengthy deliberations involving FDA, industry, patient groups, and other stakeholders,” said Chairman Walden. “As I have said before in this room, if we do not have this bill to the President’s desk in July, not only will thousands of FDA employees be seeking new employment, but desperately needed treatments and cures will not reach patients. We cannot – and will not – stand for that.”

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Medical Liability Vote Expected This Week The full House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act, which contains comprehensive medical liability reforms that are critical to bringing down health care costs and ensuring access to care for all patients. Mirroring the successful reforms of California and Texas, the Protecting Access to Care Act will ensure that physicians and health care providers are able to provide vital medical services to all patients without the threat of meritless lawsuits, and health care services will remain affordable and available to all. We need your help to urge members of Congress to support this critical bill. Click here to take action. Click here to read more.
Price Talks HHS Budget On June 8, 2017, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD testified in both a Senate Finance Committee hearing and House Ways and Means Committee hearing regarding the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget, which has been criticized for cutting important government programs, decreases funding for all federal departments outside of the Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. In defending some of the cuts, Price focused on the effectiveness of government programs.

“President Trump’s Budget request does not confuse government spending with government success,” Price stated in his testimony. “The President understands that setting a Budget is about more than establishing topline spending levels. Done properly, the budgeting process is an exercise in reforming our federal programs to make sure they actually work—so they do their job and use tax dollars wisely. The problem with many of our federal programs is not that they are too expensive or too underfunded. The real problem is that they do not work—they fail the very people they are meant to help.”

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State Corner: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to Retroactively Punish Patients for “Unnecessary” ER Visits

Starting in July, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Georgia will no longer cover emergency department services it retroactively determines are unnecessary for members with individual plans. The Medical Association of Georgia strongly opposed the move, citing patient safety and requiring patients, who don’t have clinical backgrounds, to make medical decisions.

BCBS of Georgia, the only insurer offering individual insurance plans in 96 of the state’s 159 counties, sent letters to its enrollees in late May stating that it would refuse to cover non-emergency ER visits. BCBS of Georgia defined inappropriate visits as any but those that “a prudent layperson, possessing an average knowledge of medicine and health,” would believe needed immediate treatment. Click here to read more.

What We’re Reading Legislative Agenda Gets Tougher for Trump, Roll Call, 6/12/17 Capitol Hill Dems, HHS Secretary Price Trade Jabs On HHS Budget, Kaiser Heath News, 6/8/17 Price Dodges Specifics on Obamacare Payment to Insurers, Morning Consult, 6/8/17 Sen. Heller Supports Seven-Year Phase-Out of Medicaid Expansion, The Hill, 6/8/17 Price: No Interest in Sabotaging ACA, Axios, 6/8/17 Senate Health Bill May Alienate GOP Conservatives, The New York Times, 6/7/17 Senate GOP May Keep Obamacare Taxes to Pay for Their Repeal, Politico, 6/7/17 GOP Senators’ Medicaid Clash Jeopardizes Health Deal, The Wall Street Journal, 6/6/17 Lawmakers See Progress on Health Care Bill but Details Remain Scarce, Morning Consult, 6/6/17
Political Graphic of the Week

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Orthopaedic PAC Co-Chairs 10th Annual Medical and Dental PAC Forum

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons Political Action Committee, Orthopaedic PAC, co-chaired the tenth annual Medical and Dental PAC Forum, June 2-4 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The forum, designed to bring political staff, physicians and dentists together, to share best practices, collaboration strategies, and innovative ways the medical community can enhance advocacy outreach efforts across multiple specialties, generated 16 physician and dentist specialty organizations in attendance. In addition to featured guest speaker Josh Kraushaar, National Journal’s Political Editor, the program featured several breakout sessions, case studies, and benchmarking activities aimed at leveraging health professional political action committees (PACs) in Washington. According to Orthopaedic PAC Chairman, John T. Gill, MD, “the forum provided a great opportunity to network with my colleagues and counterparts in the physician community and showcased that our PAC is innovative and well-respected throughout the industry. PAC Treasurer, Doug Lundy, MD said “I felt this meeting was extremely useful and generated several excellent takeaways that will increase our PAC participation.” To learn more about the forum or the PAC’s political efforts, contact Stacie Monroe at

ICYMI: Watch IPAB Webinar On May 17, a number of advocacy groups hosted a nationwide webinar mobilizing against the imminent threat of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Speakers called groups to action to protect the Medicare program and seniors’ access to their trusted physicians.
Quality Payment Program News The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) ended the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) then replaced it with the Quality Payment Program. Remember – the Quality Payment Program has two tracks you can choose: Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) OR the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Click here to read more.
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PAC Participation Leader Board by State Click here, to view the interactive version of the map below, which features each state’s PAC support for 2016.
Thank You to Our Current Orthopaedic PAC Advisor’s Circle Members!
AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online and Mobile Donations Orthopaedic PAC is now mobile! Supporting by phone is easy: simply text AAOS to the number 41444, and follow the link, no log-in required. We encourage our supporters to share this technology with your colleagues who have yet to renew or join and to encourage signing up on a recurring basis, for just $84 a month, or $250 a quarter you can become part of our Capitol Club Program. And don’t forget! The Orthopaedic PAC website features an online contribution center, which can accept contributions via credit card by visiting the site and using your AAOS login credentials. Credit card contributions can also be conveniently scheduled for a monthly, quarterly or yearly recurring donation. Visit and select Donate to the Orthopaedic PAC for more information or to contribute today.

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