Four Society representatives—WISMedPAC Chair John Hartman, MD, CEO Rick Abrams, Director of State and Federal Relations Chris Rasch and Political Action and Legislative Member Liaison Heidi Green—met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., last week while attending the American Medical Association Political Action Committee (AMPAC) conference.
The main topic discussed during the congressional meetings was legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. As things stand, the prospects for finding the “pay fors” for the SGR repeal in the “lame duck” session in November and December will be challenging. Should “pay fors” not emerge, a permanent fix isn’t likely until March 2015 when Congress must find a solution before the last temporary extension delaying the SGR cut expires.
The Society’s representatives also advocated for the Society’s Medicare data provision, which is included in both the SGR bill and a stand-alone bill, HR 4418, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) and Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). Should the SGR bill not move in the “lame duck” session, the Society is prepared instead to push for the passage of HR 4418.
The Society also advocated for an extension of the primary care rate increase, which boosted Medicaid payments more than 35 percent on average in Wisconsin for eligible physicians. The provision, which the Society supported and was part of the Affordable Care Act, increases Medicaid reimbursement for primary care evaluation and management (E/M) services and brings payment into parity with Medicare reimbursement. The provision is set to expire at the end of 2014.
In addition to Capitol Hill visits and the AMPAC conference, Dr. Hartman, Abrams, Rasch and Green met personally with Rep. Ryan and also had the opportunity to participate in an hour-long budget briefing with him as part of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce event. Rep. Ryan chairs the Budget Committee and likely is the next House Ways and Means chairman. The four also attended a Society-sponsored WisPolitics breakfast, where highly respected national pollsters described the political landscapes nationally and in Wisconsin in front of a large group of Wisconsin lobbyists, consultants and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison).
Save the Date for Doctor Day 2015
Advocacy such as this in Washington, D.C., and in Madison is important to the success of the Society’s legislative efforts. Doctor Day 2015 will be held in Madison March 11. Mark your calendar today and watch future issues of Medigram for more information.
Back to September 25, 2014 Medigram