22 January 2010

A New Year is Under Way

The new year is well under way, which means that the legislative session is in full swing. This year, we at the MOA are keeping our eyes closely focused on Annapolis as well as Washington.

As you all know, negotiations on a final version of health care reform legislation have been ongoing since the Senate passed their version prior to the holiday recess. In addition, the President and Administration officials have been meeting with the House and Senate Democratic leaders and Chairmen of the relevant committees to resolve the remaining differences between the House and Senate bills.

One of our top priority issues to watch is the SGR (sustainable growth rate) formula that must be resolved as the Health Care Reform legislation is finalized. The House of Representatives has passed a repeal of the SGR (H.R. 3962); however, the Senate failed to overcome the 60-vote threshold that was necessary on a procedural vote to repeal the SGR late last year. While the 21.2% reduction to Medicare physician reimbursement, which was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010, was delayed for 60 days, the issue must be addressed by February 28, 2010, to prevent the cut from taking place. There have been assurances by the Administration and the House and Senate Democratic leadership that a long-term fix to the SGR will be addressed.
On the local level, the MOA State Legislative Committee, under the leadership of Legislative Chair Dr. Drew Doyle, is carefully watching all of the optometry and health care related issues introduced in Annapolis.

Given the major health care reforms that are looming on both the state and federal level, it couldn’t be more imperative or everyone to get involved in the legislative process. I encourage everyone to give a little of your time this year contacting your local and federal legislators by phone or email. It’s important, also, to contribute to both the MOA and AOA PAC to ensure that our voice is heard.
Please mark your calendars to join me along with Dr. Tracie King, our 1st Vice President and AOA Keyperson Chair, to visit our federal legislators on Capitol Hill on March 4th during the AOA Advocacy Conference. It is a great opportunity to meet with our Senators and Representatives and talk with them about the important issues that affect our practice and our patients on a daily basis.

Hope to see you on the hill!


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