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January 30, 2020

Impeachment consumes Washington – What’s next for health care?

The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump has dominated the discussion in Washington, yet Congress still has unfinished health care business.
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With the toxic political environment and a high stakes election this November, will Congress be able to address surprise medical billing or drug pricing? Here are the top three unresolved health care issues that both parties would like to address before the end of the session:

  • Surprise billing. A bipartisan agreement was reached to address surprise medical bills that patients receive when provided care from an out of network physician. However, the agreement is opposed by AGA and the physician community since it would essentially set a national payment rate for all in-network physician services. We are pushing for an independent dispute resolution to be included in any package that would give providers the option to go to arbitration if the billing is not resolved.
  • Drug pricing. President Trump has prioritized this issue and his administration has released various proposals to lower the costs of prescription drugs for patients. The House passed H.R. 3 that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices while the Senate has yet to vote on a package.
  • Medicare extenders. Congress included a temporary extension of various health programs like funding for community health centers, loan repayment, primary care funding and other programs until May.

AGA continues to advocate for priorities such as prior authorization, step therapy and fixing the Medicare screening colonoscopy “surprise” bill and will seek inclusion of them in the health care legislation that Congress needs to address. We will be calling on you to help us move our priorities over the next few months. Stay tuned and stay involved — we need you!

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