This Week – October 5, 2013

This Week in Washington DC:

  1. Federal Government Shutdown: Medicare Claims Should be Unaffected
  2. Health Reform and Insurance Exchanges Begin: How Does This Impact Your Practice?

Federal Government Lockdown May Thwart SGR Repeal
On Monday, October 1st, the Federal Government shut down all “non-essential” operations and services when Congress failed to pass a budget or “continuing resolution” of 2013 federal spending levels prior to the close of its 2013 fiscal year (September 30th). As a result, many federal operations and services impacting providers and patients are on pause. Please click below to learn more about what specific services are impacted by this partial government shutdown.

HHS ‘contingency plan’ information for all HHS services

It is important to note that Medicare claims will continue to be processed during this time.

How does this shutdown further impact your practice?

Aside from passing a “continuing resolution,” Congress must raise the federal debt ceiling by October 17th or it may be unable to pay creditors of outstanding federal debt. There is a high probability that both sides will agree to legislation addressing both issues but federal spending cuts will likely be tied to any deal. This is important because should Congress require offsets to keep the Federal Government’s doors open and pay its bills, non-controversial offsets that would have otherwise gone to repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula become scarce and dim the prospects of permanent Medicare reimbursement reform this year. What’s more, beginning January 2014, Medicare providers face a 24% cut due to SGR absent congressional intervention. While Congress is expected to address this looming cut, the House and Senate must also agree to spending offsets to even pass a temporary SGR reprieve.

Despite the stalemate, ACG remains active on Capitol Hill and continues to engage the Obama Administration on issues important to the GI clinician and patients.

Enrollment Opens for Health Exchanges
While Congress continues to debate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or “ACA”), a key provision of the law was implemented the day of the shutdown, on October 1st. Individuals can now purchase health insurance via their respective state-based or federally-administered exchanges. Enrollment will continue throughout 2013 and become effective January 2014. What is your state doing? How will this impact your practice? The ACG National Affairs Committee has gathered the latest information on health insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, and how these forthcoming changes impact the GI practice.

Please click here to view this presentation.

Please stay tuned for further updates. Please also share and discuss your thoughts with fellow ACG members on the ACG GI Circle. To login and share your comments, go to and sign in as a member. Once you have done so, click here and then click the orange "Visit ACG GI Circle" button to be taken to the GI Circle site. If you have not yet activated your ACG GI Circle account, please email us at

Contact Brad Conway, VP Public Policy, with any questions or for more information.

Brad Conway