Legislative Updates from the AACU

States address payer interference with physicians' ordersIn nearly every survey of physician sentiment, doctors cite administrative burdens associated with payer relations as distracting from patient care and the performance of their chosen profession.
Obamacare survives a second Supreme Court challengeThe Affordable Care Act has survived its latest legal challenge. After reading the Supreme Court's recent decision in King v. Burwell, Dan Shaffer of the AACU discusses how the justices arrived at it and what it means to you.
Urology's advocacy priorities: One down, four to goHaving completed a well-deserved victory lap after the recent repeal of the SGR, it's time to tune up our engines and head right back to the race track to advance the specialty's remaining advocacy priorities.
The fate of SGR repeal rests with the SenateIn this column, Daniel R. Shaffer of the AACU discusses the recent Urology Joint Advocacy Conference and how urology may have helped move the needle on a promising new SGR proposal.
Work force proposals may endanger patient safety, professional standardsIn this column, Ross E. Weber of the AACU examines where various proposals to address the specialist physician shortage currently stand.
JAC 2015 preview: Hope for SGR’s demiseUrologists attending the 2015 Urology Joint Advocacy Conference will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill at a pivotal time for physicians.
Congress guts the IPAB, then takes on its roleThe 2015 omnibus spending bill canceled a $10 million appropriation for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Congress also approved a bill that cuts Medicare funding for vacuum erection systems. Rationing care, whether undertaken by the IPAB or Congress, must be opposed when it arbitrarily selects services based on public perception and not medical necessity, writes Ross E. Weber of the AACU.
Fight or flight: Why voicing your concerns is not enoughIn Urology Times’ ninth annual State of the Specialty survey, an astounding 87% of respondents perceived “increasing government regulations” with trepidation. Unfortunately, while nearly nine in ten urologists identify the problem, far fewer take steps to address it.
Pressure to expand Medicaid mounts, employer plans declineWhen provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) related to the expansion of Medicaid to low-income childless adults took effect in January 2014, 25 states and the District of Columbia had approved laws to broaden their programs' eligibility requirements. Since then, under pressure from various interests groups, including state hospital associations, lawmakers in at least three more states—Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—expanded their health care safety net programs and thereby gained access to federal dollars that would have otherwise been left on the table.
State Society conference: Vigilance in the political process essentialLeaders of state, national, and subspecialty urologic societies from around the country converged in Rosemont, IL in September for a weekend of health policy discussions and advocacy tips with public officials, policy experts, and fellow urologists. One of the themes reinforced at the 7th Annual State Society Network Advocacy Conference, hosted by the AACU, was the importance and impact of physician engagement in the political process.