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AID's Actions on Capitol Hill - Part Three

In our three-part series covering AID's activities in Washington DC, two recent member updates shared news of AID's visits late last month with representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

This third installment covers two Washington meetings AID participated in earlier this month. On Nov. 4, AID Executive Director Marni Jameson Carey gave a Skype presentation to nearly 50 doctors who'd gathered in the nation's capital for a meeting of the Practicing Physicians of America. Founded by Dr. Marion Mass, a Pennsylvania pediatrician, PPA is a coalition of doctors' organization to which AID belongs. Carey also serves on PPA's advisory panel.

In her remarks, Carey talked about AID's recent work with the FTC, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, lawmakers, media, consumers to stop hospital consolidation, increase price transparency, achieve parity, enforce antitrust laws, and stop the tax-exempt abuse by non-profit hospitals.

The PPA meeting was called to "establish and foster connections between existing groups to be able to amplify the message of each group, and, thus, strengthen the voice of the practicing physician," said Mass. More than a dozen representatives from each group spoke in an effort to find unification, and ways to collaborate.

The next day, at the National Council on Healthcare Policy meeting, AID member Dr. Niran Al-Agba, a pediatrician from Washington state, used AID's presentation slides to talk about "Hospital Costs - How Consolidation and Lack of Transparency Increases the Cost of Care." She distributed a one-sheet outlining AID's legislative asks, which was passed on to lawmakers.

NPCHP, headed by Dr. Marcy Zwelling, a concierge doctor from California, has as its goal "to provide a strong, national voice for the physician engaged in private practice to facilitate policies that advance transparent, market-based health care and rules and regulations that are well understood, build value, and improve quality."

Dr. Al-Agba outlined AID's position that lack of transparency and rampant consolidation are pushing up the cost of care, and hospitals lead the way. The federal government fuels the problem by paying facility fees for services offered in a hospital but not for those in a private office, and for the tax breaks to nonprofit hospitals. Our suggestions to lawmakers:

Stop hospital consolidation
Mandate price transparency
Eliminate facility fees or mandate site-neutral payments
Stop non-profit hospital's abuse of tax exempt status
Lift the ban on physician-owned hospitals
Repeal certificate of need laws

She also gave a shout out for renewed support of HR 5547 The Health Care Price Transparency Act of 2016. This legislation calls upon states to establish laws requiring disclosure of hospital charges, to make this information available to the public, and to provide individuals with an out-of-pocket cost estimate for health care services.

Collectively, we are gearing up to work with legislators on the state and national level to push forward on all these fronts. We welcome your suggestions.

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