Putting First Things First

This post was contributed by Cynthia Moran, ACR Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Health Policy.

moran42017 is a time of change, but one thing will never change — ACR member volunteers and staff are working hard to create legislative and regulatory environments that allow you to provide the best patient care possible.

The 115th Congress was sworn in this week, and the Senate immediately started the budget process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This first step of repeal will go through amendments and floor action and should be completed by the end of next week. The congressional committees of jurisdiction will be asked to lay out in the next few weeks how they intend to meet the budget requirements of repealing the ACA. The timeline to replace the ACA has not been defined, but two or three years may be the range bandied about in Washington.

To date, the policies that will replace the ACA have only been touched on:

  • Allow insurance to be sold across state lines
  • Base replacement on the Health Savings Accounts (HSA) concept
  • Block grant Medicaid

Early indications are that Congress may retain certain ACA policies, such as exemptions for pre-existing illness and allowing younger adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26.

More specific to radiology — among many other issues, in many other venues, at the federal level — ACR continues to stress:

  • Continuation of existing screening benefits — early detection enabled by screening saves lives
  • Proper CMS implementation of appropriate use criteria-based clinical decision support systems
  • Appropriate low-dose CT lung cancer screening reimbursement
  • Medicare CT colonography (CTC) coverage

The College continues to engage with members of Congress as ACA changes move forward and to advance radiology-specific issues that enable better patient care. We will keep you informed of developments on these and other fronts.

In the meantime:

  • Do you think that MACRA will have more impact on radiology practices than repeal of the ACA?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

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