Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies, IPAB Repeal Bill Passes House, and More
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UPDATE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday announced several changes to ICD-10 implementation, including a transition period where doctors will not be penalized with claims denials or quality-reporting penalties as long as they select a diagnosis code from the right family of codes for the first year of implementation. Read more on the Advocacy Now blog by clicking here.
House Passes IPAB Repeal Legislation Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, by a vote of 244-154. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) commends members of the House for passing this important legislation, which would eliminate sections 3403 and 10320 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) before it is activated. This board – charged with making recommendations to cut Medicare expenditures if spending growth reaches a certain level – threatens the ability of elected representatives in Congress to ensure seniors have access to the health care they need when they need it.   Click here to read more.
Supreme Court Upholds Subsidies in King v. Burwell Last month, the Supreme Court – in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts – upheld health insurance subsidies in federally-run insurance exchanges. The issue in the case was whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (for more background on the case, read “Supreme Court to Determine ACA’s Future” in AAOS Now, available online by clicking here). According to the petitioners, the literal interpretation of the text in question means the IRS can only provide subsidies to individuals in states that established their own exchanges, and not those states with a federal exchange. The government, on the other hand, argued that the section refers to any exchange set up by the state, including an exchange run for the state by the federal government. Ultimately, the Court held that the context and structure of the ACA “compel the conclusion” that subsidies are allowed for insurance purchased on either state or federal exchanges. Click here to read more.
What We’re Reading House Committee Votes to Defund AHRQ, MedPage Today, June 24, 2015 Bill Aims to Free ASC Docs From Some Meaningful Use Rules, Modern Healthcare, June 24, 2015 Roberts’ Opinion Means Obama Successor Can’t Easily Revoke Subsidies, Modern Healthcare, June 25, 2015 King Ruling Dims Hopes of Crippling the ACA Through the Courts, Modern Healthcare, June 25, 2015 Republicans, Stunned by Supreme Court, Plot Next Anti-Obamacare Moves, National Journal, June 25, 2015 Even After Court Victory, Still No Easy Road for Obamacare, Politico, June 26, 2015 U.S. Doctors, Hospitals Reap $6.5 Billion from Drug and Device Makers, Reuters, June 30, 2015 Obamacare Ruling Paves the Way for Lobbying Blitz, The Hill, July 1, 2015 Killing Obamacare’s Rationing Board, The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2015 For more, follow @AAOSAdvocacy on twitter!
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Barr and Barrasso Introduce Liability Protection Legislation Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) last month introduced the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act (H.R. 2603/S. 1475), which would allow physicians who can demonstrate they followed recommended best practices developed by the physician community to benefit from increased liability protection in the form of a legal safe harbor. In a press release, the legislators emphasized that this legislation has the potential to help lower health care costs while improving the quality of care for patients by reducing the necessary practice of defensive medicine and increasing adherence to evidence-based medicine. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) are original co-sponsors of the Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act. Click here to read more.
Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Increases NIH Funding, Terminates AHRQ The House Appropriations Committee recently approved its $153 billion Labor-HHS-Education spending bill by a party-line vote of 30 to 21. The 2016 funding measure, if enacted, would cut $4 billion from 2015 appropriations levels, but increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by $140 million and for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.1 billion. Specifically, the bill increases funding for key research programs, such as those focused on rural states and the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative. Observers say the proposed increases are also driven in part over concerns about Ebola. Click here to read more.
Senate Finance Approves Bill on Meaningful Use and ASCs Last month, the Senate Finance Committee cleared by unanimous voice vote a bill that would exempt patient encounters that take place in ambulatory surgery centers from meaningful use requirements. S. 1347, the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015, was introduced in May 2015 by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The House companion bill, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), was passed by the House on June 17, 2015. Click here to read more.
BOS Quality and Patient Safety Action Fund The BOS Quality and Patient Safety Action Fund’s (Action Fund) purpose is to support BOS member organizations’ involvement in developing and implementing quality and patient safety initiatives, and related advocacy efforts.  Projects that meet prescribed criteria are eligible for AAOS matching funds up to $50,000.  The Action Fund started accepting applications on March 30, 2015, and the first deadline is July 1, 2015.  We expect demand for funds to exceed supply, so please be sure to submit thorough and complete applications. Click here to read more.
2015 Resident PAC Participation Increases – Thank you to Participating Programs! Orthopaedic PAC resident member participation thus far in 2015 has already surpassed resident involvement levels in 2014 under the PAC’s increased resident outreach initiative.  Congratulations to the programs below for their involvement in the Orthopaedic PAC’s Resident Challenge. Residents from the following programs have joined the PAC thus far in 2015:

Baylor University Boston University Campbell Clinic Carolinas Medical Center Cleveland Clinic Columbia University Cooper University – 100% participation Emory University George Washington University Hospital for Joint Diseases John Peter Smith Hospital Loma Linda University Medical Center Louisiana State University Madigan Army Medical Center Ohio State University Rush University San Antonio Uniformed Services     Health Education Consortium St Louis University Temple University Thomas Jefferson University UC Irvine UC San Diego UC San Francisco University of Florida University of Hawaii University of Kentucky University of Mississippi University of North Carolina University of Pennsylvania University of South Alabama University of Southern California University of Texas Medical Branch University of Vermont UPMC Hamot Walter Reed Army Medical Center Washington University Yale University

To learn more about the importance of residency involvement in the PAC or for resources you can use to encourage your program to become involved, please visit the Orthopaedic PAC Resident Toolkit or contact Kristin Brackemyre at or 202.546.4430.

AAOS Orthopaedic PAC Online Contribution Center

The Orthopaedic PAC website features an online contribution center, which can now 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. Consider joining the Orthopaedic PAC with a monthly contribution of $25 or make a $1,000 contribution manageable through $250 quarterly contributions to qualify for the new “Capitol Club”. Visit and select Donate to the Orthopaedic PAC for more information or to contribute today.

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