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Last week, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017” (S. 2121). The legislation 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.
S. 2121 is the companion bill to H.R. 3378, which was introduced by Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). Representatives 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), and Julia Brownley (D-CA) have also cosponsored the bill.
AAMS fully supports this legislation, and encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor S. 2121 and H.R. 3378. The House of Representatives provides a tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code. The U.S. Senate provides contact information for all 100 Senators.
More Information on H.R. 3378:
- AAMS background on the legislation and the need to reform outdated Medicare rates.
- Cosponsors of H.R. 3378.
In other news…
Last week the House approved the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1) by a 227-205 vote. The House and Senate both approved the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018” (H.R. 2810), sending the legislation to the President for his signature. H.R. 2810 includes a provision reinstating the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) drone registration program (see below).
The Senate also confirmed a number of Executive Branch nominations last week.
This week the House and Senate are on recess for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Drone Provisions Included in DOD Authorization
Section 1092 of the final version of the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018” includes provisions related to the development and regulation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The legislation, which the President will sign into law, authorizes the “Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Secretary of Defense [to] collaborate on sense-and-avoid capabilities for unmanned aircraft systems”. Section 1092 also reinstates the FAA’s “Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft” final rule. On May 19, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion overturning the registration regulations.
Tax reform legislation took two significant steps forward last week as the House approved its bill (H.R. 1), and the Senate Finance Committee voted 14-12 to advance its proposal. Both the House and Senate bills would reduce the corporate tax rate, and consolidate the number of individual tax rates.
Because Congress is considering tax reform legislation under the expedited budget reconciliation process, the Finance Committee bill will move first to the Senate Budget Committee. Following the Budget Committee deliberations, the full Senate will begin debate on the legislation the week of November 30th. During consideration by the full Senate, Senators will have the opportunity to propose and vote on amendments to the bill. If the Senate votes to pass the legislation, the House and Senate bills would then need to be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee, unless the House voted to adopt the Senate-passed legislation.