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Eye on Washington – December 12, 2018

Overview

Congress deferred most legislative activity last week as Washington paused for the memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush. Bush, who served as the 41st President, passed away on November 30, at the age of 94.

Both the House and Senate passed a joint resolution “[m]aking further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2019” (H.J.Res. 143), a two-week extension of funding for portions of the federal government not covered by regular appropriations bills. The new continuing resolution extends through December 21. The prior continuing resolution expired on December 7.

The Senate acted on Executive Branch nominations last week, voting to confirm Bernard McNamee to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Kathleen Kraninger be the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

This week’s House schedule includes: the “Improving Medicaid Programs and Opportunities for Eligible Beneficiaries (IMPROVE) Act” (H.R. 7127); the “Sickle Cell Disease and Other Heritable Blood Disorders Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2018” (S. 2465); the “PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2018” (S. 3029); and the “Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018” (H.R. 1318).

On Monday, the Senate voted on the motion to invoke cloture and limit debate on the nomination of Justin Muzinich to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Member Reminder

AAMS fully supports the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121), bipartisan legislation that would 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; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. 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. The bill currently has 46 cosponsors.

Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the bill. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), and Doug Jones (D-AL) are also cosponsors.

Additional information on this legislation, as well as on how to contact your Member of Congress and Senators:

 Learn more about AAMS’ Public Policy efforts.