Both the House and Senate reconvened this week as the Second Session of the 115th Congress gets underway.
The House this week plans to vote on a bill to extend funding for the federal government beyond the expiration of the current appropriations bill on January 19th (H.J.Res. 124). The House is also scheduled to consider: the “Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2017” (H.R. 3312); the “FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017” (H.R. 4478); and legislation to “reauthorize the United States Fire Administration, the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program” (H.R. 4661).
Last weekend President Trump hosted Republican congressional leaders and cabinet officials at Camp David to discuss the 2018 policy agenda.
Elwell Designated Acting FAA Administrator
On Friday, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the appointment of Daniel Elwell as Acting FAA Administrator effective Monday, January 8th. Elwell succeeds FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, and has been Deputy Administrator since June, 2017. He previously served as FAA Assistant Administrator for Policy in the George W. Bush Administration, was Senior Vice President for Safety, Security, and Operations at Airlines for America (A4A), and spent 16 years as a commercial pilot for American Airlines.
AAMS fully supports the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121) to address the shortfall in Medicare reimbursements for air medical services. AAMS encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor the legislation.
The bills would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. The bill would enhance transparency by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.
Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3378, with the following Members of Congress also joining as cosponsors:
- Tom Cole (R-OK);
- Jason Smith (R-MO);
- Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO);
- David Loebsack (D-IA);
- Mike Kelly (R-PA);
- Kenny Marchant (R-TX);
- Terri Sewell (D-AL);
- Ed Perlmutter (D-CO);
- Julia Brownley (D-CA);
- Jacky Rosen (D-NV);
- Ami Bera (D-CA); and
- Scott Tipton (R-CO).
Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the bill.
More Information on the legislation, as well as on how to contact your Member of Congress and Senators:
- AAMS background on the legislation and the need to reform outdated Medicare rates.
- Cosponsors of H.R. 3378.
- The House of Representatives tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code.
- The U.S. Senate’s contact information for all 100 Senators.