The MAOFP has created legislative talking points to address when meeting with your legislators.
On November 7, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act. After more than 14 hours of debate, the bill passed by a vote of 220-215. In the House, 218 yes votes are necessary for passage. Among the 215 no votes included 176 Republicans and 39 Democrats. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA-2nd) was the lone Republican yes vote.
H.R. 3962 includes numerous policies focused on primary care physicians including Medicare "bonus" payments of up to 10 percent for primary care services, implementation of the Patient Centered Medical Home for Medicare beneficiaries, alignment of Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care services with those under Medicare, and reform to graduate medical education policies to incentive training of physicians in non-hospital settings.
The National Health Council has launched its first "Call on Congress" campaign for patients and their advocates to contact members of Congress to say they support a health system overhaul that "Puts Patients First." The NHC advocates on behalf of the more than 133 million people with chronic conditions and their family caregivers. Its members include over 100 national health-related organizations - including AAHPM.
The group has set up toll-free phone lines that will connect callers with their representatives in the House and Senate. Instructions and a script can be accessed by clicking here.
The phone lines will remain open until Friday, August 7, when Congress begins its one-month recess. The NHC also seeks signatories for its Petition for Health Care Change.
On July 16, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the agency had approved Onsolis, an opioid fentanyl approved for use in cancer patients with breakthrough pain. According to the FDA," because fentanyl is subject to abuse and misuse," Onsolis was approved with a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy).
Onsolis will only be available through a very restricted distribution program called the FOCUS program. Under FOCUS, only the prescribers, patients and pharmacies registered with the program will be able to prescribe and receive the product. Hospital pharmacies will not be allowed to stock Onsolis..
In a conference with stakeholders, FDA officials asked about allowing hospices and long term care facilities to have the product in stock said they will determine that in collaboration with the manufacturer. (The drug is manufactured by Meda and BioDelivery Sciences International). The FDA also told stakeholders that the agency does not anticipate that the REMS currently under consideration for other opioids "will need to be as severe as this fentanyl REMS," but do plan to impose the same REMS on other oral fentanyl products as that applied to Onsolis.
Click here to read more about the FDA actions regarding Onsolis.