Maine Medicine Weekly Update - 05/08/2017  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
•  U.S. House Passes American Health Care Act 217 to 213. Senate Vows to Start from Scratch
•  AMA Reacts to ACHA House Vote
•  AAP Reacts to AHCA Vote
•  Anthem asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Rejection of Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger
•  MMA, Lown Institute and Colleagues Present Challenges to Professionalism in a Time of Change, in Portsmouth, June 17
•  New England AMA Delegation Meets in Providence, R.I.
•  MIPS Web-interface and CAHPS for MIPS Registration Open Until June 30
•  Maine DHHS Now Accepting Applcations for Opioid Health Homes
•  Physician-focused Payment Models Recommended to Secretary Price
•  Online Learning Opportunities Offering CME Credits - from the Northern New England Practice Transformation Network
•  Weekly MMA Legislative Committee Conference Call Information
•  Legislative Highlights of the Week
•  Save the Date! Physicians' Day at the Legislature, May 31st
•  L.D. 46 Eliminating Physician Exemption from Jury Duty Poses Threat to Physician Practices
•  Learn How You Can Be Ready for the E-Prescribing Mandate: Free Webinars on May 10, May 24, and June 7
•  Maine Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons Spring Educational Program & Business Meeting - May 12
•  Maine Chapter, American College of Surgeons Annual Meeting - May 19-21
•  How Can I Choose Wisely? A Community Conversation on Healthcare Changes and Rising Costs June 8
•  Family Medicine Physician - Pittsfield, ME
•  Physician Assistant - Newcastle
•  Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner Hospitalist - Full Time or Per Diem, Bridgton Hospital
•  Family Medicine Physician - Maine Medical Partners Primary Care - Standish, ME
•  Primary Care Physician - Eastern Maine Medical Center
•  Outpatient Only - Internal Medicine with Loan Repayment & Sign-on Bonus
•  Part-time Clinical & Part-time Research Position in Central Maine
•  Family Medicine Physician - Winthrop, ME
•  DO or MD Physician - Augusta, ME
•  Family Medicine Physician - Waterville, ME


U.S. House Passes American Health Care Act 217 to 213. Senate Vows to Start from Scratch

Last Thursday, May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act repealing major portions of the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing health coverage for millions of Americans and rolling back the expansion of Medicaid.

Maine's two Representatives took different positions on the bill with First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree opposing the bill and Second District Congressman Bruce Poliquin supporting the proposal. All Democrats voted in opposition along with 20 Republicans.  

The bill will likely look much different after the Senate acts upon it or enacts its own bill and differences between the two are worked out in conference. Among the highlights of the AHCA are the following.

  • Both the individual and employer mandate to purchase health insurance is repealed.

  • Many taxes funding the ACA are eliminated including a 0.9% increase on the Medicare payroll tax and a 3.8% on investment income. 

  • More money can be set aside in a Health Savings Account

  • Taxes are rolled back on device manufacturers, tanning salons, drug manufacturers and health plans.

  • Older Americans can be charged up to five times more for health insurance than younger individuals (under the ACA, the factor was three times)

  • States will receive less funds for Medicaid.

  • Planned Parenthood is denied any federal funds for one year.

The House vote took place prior to the Congressional Budget Office completing its review of the fiscal impact of the proposal. An earlier version of the bill estimated that as many as 24 million individuals could lose coverage over the next few years.

MMA participated in an interview with Maine Public Radio following the vote and in a press conference with Congresswoman Pingree on Friday.  MMA noted that the proposal, opposed by both the AMA and the American Hospital Association, was adverse to the interests of those individuals who are poor, sick or elderly. Its negative impact on women was also noted. MMA will work with its partners in Maine and with the AMA to oppose the bill and to work with Senators Collins and King to draft proposals that will focus on coverage for Maine people at an affordable cost with an appropriate relationship between the state and federal governments.