This week, Congress filed its $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill. The bill included positive news for GI and showcased the power of your voice in advocating for patient issues.
Here’s what you need to know:
Medicare payment cuts
Unfortunately, physicians treating Medicare patients will face cuts in the new year.
It is disappointing that Congress failed to stop the full cuts. However, the Medicare payment cuts will be lower than the initially proposed 8.5% cut. Physicians will face a 2% cut due to the 4% in PAYGO relief for 2023 and 2024, plus an additional 2.5% in relief for CMS.
This is not an ideal outcome, but we are grateful to the more than 160 AGA members who raised their voices and sent over 600 messages to Congress. Your advocacy played a role in alleviating the final number of the cuts.
We will continue to urge Congress to stop the full cuts. Our top priority in 2023 remains addressing the Medicare reimbursement rates.
Two-year extension for telehealth
Good news! We have been ongoing supporters of telehealth expansion that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of this two-year telehealth extension will allow doctors to continue to treat Medicare patients in a virtual setting. This is crucial since it allows patients to continue receiving treatment from their doctor in a virtual setting, and it provides patients and providers with certainty.
$2.5 billion increase for NIH
Good news! The omnibus allocates $47.5 billion for NIH’s budget, a $2.5 billion increase from this year. The increased federal research funding is something we advocated for with congressional offices during Advocacy Day and will support GI researchers who are conducting innovative research and developing treatment for digestive diseases and GI cancers.
AGA submitted report language on IBD included
Good news! Two language requests submitted by AGA on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were included in the omnibus: one in the 2023 Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill and one in the 2023 Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies funding bill.
The first reaffirms the Appropriations Committee’s support for the NIH in funding basic, translational and clinical studies on the diagnosis and treatment of IBD. The second encourages the FDA to improve diversity and patient-centricity in IBD clinical trials. The inclusion of these language requests in the omnibus highlights another successful advocacy effort by AGA.