This Week – March 6, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • ACA Repeal Watch: Republicans Trying to Find Consensus
  • MACRA Tidbit for the Week: Use ACG’s MACRA Resources

Every March brings Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which serves as an excellent reminder for ACG members to spread the message of the lifesaving benefits of colorectal cancer screening through active participation in education and public awareness efforts in your local communities.

In keeping with its longstanding commitment to colorectal cancer prevention, the College offers a variety of educational tools and resources to support your efforts. For inspiration, tips and ways to get involved, visit the ACG Colorectal Cancer Community Education Toolkit. There are a number of ACG posters, flyers and infographics you can incorporate into your education and outreach.

Read ACG President Dr. Carol A. Burke’s full blogpost here.

This week, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.” The bill fixes a Medicare coverage quirk contained in the ACA by waiving Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing when screening colonoscopies turn therapeutic. Right now, Medicare only has the authority to waive the patient coinsurance for colonoscopies that remain a “screening.” Last week, Reps. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), and Charles Dent (R-PA) introduced the same bill in the House. Please urge your Representative to cosponsor the bill!

From ACG National Affairs Committee Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

ACA Repeal Watch: Republicans Trying to Find Consensus

Last week, a draft of an old Affordable Care Act repeal bill was leaked. This set in motion a bit of a scramble among House and Senate Republicans on the details of the repeal and replace bill. This week, Republican leadership assuaged concerns, saying that this was an old draft. However, Republicans continue to express frustration that the bill is being drafted without broad input from the Republican caucus.

Some of the most contentious elements among the caucus include: the use of federal income tax credits vs. tax deductions when subsidizing the cost of buying commercial health insurance, and changes to state Medicaid funding. Coverage benefits and preventive services also continue to be on ACG’s radar screen, with the College continuing to advocate for these coverage protections.

Tax Credit vs. Tax Deduction

The most recent ACA repeal draft, as well as others, include providing individuals an advanced or refundable tax credit to help pay for the cost of commercial insurance. Many Republicans are opposed to this because they believe this is simply an indirect entitlement program. During his first address to Congress on Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump stated that he supports tax credits.

So what’s the basic difference between a tax deduction and tax credit? Read the full blog here.

Use ACG’s MACRA Resources

ACG members are encouraged to use the various MACRA resources, including the detailed overview of MACRA, “ACG’s “Making $ense of MACRA”, the ACG-CMS webinar on MIPS program, ACG’s “quality reporting checklist,” a list of each measure in the MIPS Quality, Advancing Care, and Improvement Activities categories, as well as each measure’s specifications. Check out the comprehensive list of ACG’s “MACRA Tidbit for the Week” here as well.