House Members Offer Support for Primary Care Issues

Members of Congress may be battling among themselves over health care policy, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to express strong support for primary care and expanded access for patients in need. 

AAFP Board members met with Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Gene Green, D-Texas, who discussed their current health policy initiatives.

Black, who is trained as a nurse, covered a range of issues, including electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine, coordination of care, the state of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and prospects for repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) used to calculate physician payment.

For more than 10 years, the House and Senate have adopted temporary measures, often called "doc fixes," to avoid major cuts in Medicare payments called for by the SGR, but the law itself remains intact.

Black said House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Deputy Whip Kevin Brady, R-Texas, are committed to repealing the SGR. The one-year patch that Congress passed in 2014 to avert scheduled cuts to physician payment is set to expire on March 31.

"I don't think we'll have a solution by March 31st, but I do believe it will happen this year," Black said.

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