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Healthcare Reform
Congress and the Administration have identified additional healthcare delivery reforms and/or repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a top priority for 2017. The AAO-HNS supports additional health-related reforms designed to ease regulatory burdens on physicians and instead promote efficient, patient-centric approaches to healthcare delivery. The AAO-HNS looks forward to working with members of Congress to develop healthcare reform-related legislation that will ensure the sustainability of an efficient and affordable healthcare delivery system in the United States.

Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board
Created by the Affordable Care Act, the IPAB is a largely unaccountable body of individuals appointed by the President and charged with creating or modifying Medicare payment policy, thereby usurping the rightful authority of our elected Congressional officials to shape Medicare policy. By limiting Congressional oversight, the IPAB essentially eliminates the transparency of hearings, debate, and the meaningful opportunity for stakeholder input. The AAO-HNS urges Members of Congress to support repeal and cosponsor H.R. 849/S. 260/S. 251.

Legislative Update/Timeline:

  • February 1, 2017: U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 260, the “Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017.” 
  • February 1, 2017: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 251, the “Protecting Medicare from Executive Action Act of 2017.”
  • February 3, 2017: U.S. Representative Phil Roe, MD (R-TN) introduced H.R. 849, the “Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2017.” *Identical to S. 260
  • October 4, 2017: H.R. 849 passed (24-13) by the House Ways & Means Committee
  • November 2, 2017: H.R. 849 passed (307-111) by U.S. House of Representatives 

Click here to read the AAO-HNS letter re: H.R. 849.

Truth in Advertising
Currently, there is little “transparency” associated with the most fundamental and important component of healthcare delivery – the many health professionals who interact with patients every day. Recent studies confirm America’s patients prefer a physician-led approach to healthcare and are often confused about the level of training and education of their healthcare providers. Because of this uncertainty, patient autonomy and decision-making have been compromised. America’s patients deserve to be fully informed and able to easily identify in healthcare advertisements and interactions their providers’ credentials, licenses, and training when seeking treatment. The AAO-HNS is a strong supporter of federal truth-in-advertising legislation is committed to strengthening support for this issue in the 115th Congress.

Legislative Update/Timeline:

  • October 3, 2017: U.S. Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and David Scott (D-GA) introduced H.R. 3928, the “Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act of 2017.”

Click here to read the H.R. 3928 organizational support letter.

FDA Oversight of Tobacco Products
In 2009, Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over the manufacture, sale and marketing of all tobacco products via passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). As part of the TCA, Congress appropriately gave FDA the flexibility to determine the type of oversight that is appropriate for different tobacco products based on the protection of public health. While the TCA immediately applied all of FDA’s new authorities to cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco, it established a process for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to assert jurisdiction over other tobacco products, including cigars, and determine which requirements are appropriate for the protection of public health. Despite the FDA’s clear authority to regulate ALL tobacco products, the tobacco industry continues to seek exemptions for various products—particularly cigars. No tobacco product should be exempt from oversight – and certainly not inexpensive and flavored cigars. The AAO-HNS opposes any legislation and/or appropriations policy riders that would exempt some cigars, including flavored cigars, from regulation under the TCA.

Medical Liability Reform
The nation’s current medical liability system places patients in jeopardy of losing their access to vital healthcare services. With affordable and adequate medical liability insurance becoming difficult to find, physicians are retiring early, limiting their practices, or moving to states with less costly premiums. This disturbing trend is leaving entire communities without access to critical healthcare services. To reduce and learn from instances of medical error, the AAO-HNS has committed substantial resources to and engaged our Members in proactive quality improvement initiatives. However, further statutory changes are necessary to address flaws in our current tort system and enact proven reforms to reduce frivolous lawsuits. Members of Congress are urged to explore innovative solutions to alleviate the burdens associated with the current medical liability system.

Legislative Update/Timeline:

  • February 24, 2017: U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) introduced H.R. 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.”
  • March 22, 2017: Amended by House Judiciary Committee
  • March 22, 2017: Discharged by House Energy & Commerce Committee
  • June 28, 2017: U.S. House of Representatives passed (218-210) H.R. 1215.

Click here to read the H.R. 1215 organizational support letter.