This Week – November 12, 2016

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • 2016 Election Reflections: Summary and Potential Impact on ACG Members Moving Forward
  • ACG’s MACRA Tidbit for the Week: How will the U.S. Presidential and Congressional Elections impact MACRA?

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

2016 Election Reflections: Summary and Potential Impact on ACG Members Moving Forward

The 2016 elections have come and gone.  Donald Trump will be the next United States President and Republicans will maintain control over the U.S. House and Senate.  What is the potential impact to ACG members?  Here are some items ACG is watching:

Lame Duck Congress: Before we get into next year, let’s not forget that Congress will come back to work in 2016.  For how long and what they do remains unclear.  However, ACG’s meetings with key Hill staff have suggested that health care related issues such as the “21st century cures” bill (legislation designed to improve investment in technology and medicine) as well as certain year-end Medicare extensions will be in play.  ACG is also actively engaging Congress to pass legislation that removes barriers to colorectal cancer screening (2 bills), expanding treatment for hepatitis C and obesity, as well as bills designed to reduce regulatory burdens for GI practices.

The Affordable Care Act: President-elect Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have already stated their intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read the full blog here.

MACRAbanner

How will the U.S. Presidential and Congressional Elections
impact MACRA?

Many ACG members have asked about the impact of the 2016 elections on MACRA.  What will happen to MACRA after President-elect Trump is in office, or during a Republican controlled Congress?

The answer: it does not seem to matter.  MACRA will likely stay put.  Why?

MACRA has significant bipartisan popularity on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.  The U.S. Senate passed MACRA in April 2015 by a 92 to 8 margin. The U.S. House passed MACRA in March 2015 by a 392 to 37 margin.  Both Democrats and Republicans have stated that their hope is to transition into a more “value-based care,” and see MACRA as the “vehicle” to do this.  So there appears to be little incentive for the incoming President or new Congress to repeal this law.

HOWEVER, repealing the ACA could very well impact MACRA.

Remember: MACRA does not create new alternative payment models; it provides greater incentives to join one.

The 2016 health care election issues still focused on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and access to health care via greater access to health insurance– not necessarily how Medicare pays providers.  President Obama’s 2010 health care law authorizes the Medicare ACOs (“shared savings program”) as well as the CMMI.  President-elect Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have already stated their intentions.  So repealing the Affordable Care Act also repeals CMS’ authority to implement ACOs and other APMs under MACRA.  ACG will continue to update you on any developments.

More on MACRA: ACG Hopes to Keep This Simple.   We compiled a detailed overview for you, hopefully in a simplified fashion and in plain English.  Read the summary and potential impact to GI: Making $ense of MACRA.