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2021 Policy background information

Overview of asks

Support physician practices and preserve patients’ access to treatments

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) thanks Congress for its hard work to pass legislation that supports physicians and their patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). However, more work needs to be done to preserve the viability of the physician workforce and to ensure patients can access the medical care they need as physician practices continue to recover from the financial impact of the COVID-19 PHE.

The AADA represents nearly 16,500 dermatologists nationwide who diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases, including skin cancer, psoriasis, immunologic diseases, and many genetic disorders. One in four Americans suffers from a skin disease and patients should have access to the full range of these specialists through private and public payers. Health care policy should support preserving the ability of dermatologists to own and operate their own practices and maintain competitiveness in a health system that is trending toward increased consolidation and impacting patients’ access to quality and affordable care often with unintended consequences.

Ensure Medicare stability for patients and physicians

Legislative ask

Take action to prevent Medicare physician payment cuts impacting patients’ access to care, and mitigate the financial distress facing dermatology practices. Beginning January 1, 2022, physician practices are facing up to 10% or more overall in Medicare physician payment cuts.

Support legislation to:

  • Maintain the 3.75% increase to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) conversion factor through at least calendar years 2022 and 2023 to ensure financial stability for physician practices that are still struggling through the effects of the pandemic.

  • Extend the Medicare sequester moratorium to avert the additional 2% reduction in Medicare payments.

  • Waive the PAYGO requirements connected to the American Rescue Plan Act that would result in an added 4% cut to Medicare payments.

U.S. House of Representatives only

Ask your Representative to oppose these Medicare physician payment cuts and sign onto a letter* being circulated by Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) that asks House Leadership to prioritize aversion of these cuts. (See link to letter below.)

*In Congress, members of the House and/or Senate often write letters to the leaders of the parties, who decide what legislation is voted on, asking them to prioritize certain issues or bills. To add weight to their request they solicit signers from their colleagues. This is commonly referred to as a “dear colleague letter” that accompanies the solicitation. Our role is to encourage members of Congress to join, because we have an interest in promoting the outcome.

Preserve patients' access to treatments

Legislative ask

Take action to ensure that physicians remain the clinical authority over a patient’s care and lessen the burden on patients required to go through step therapy protocols instituted by insurance companies.

  • Cosponsor and support passage of the Safe Step Act (H.R. 2163/S. 464), which would ensure that step therapy protocols used by health plans will preserve the physician’s right to make treatment decisions in the best interest of the patient.

Overview of the asks
Download this PDF which will be sent to Congressional offices before AADA Legislative Conference virtual meetings on September 28.

Rep. Bera and Rep. Bucshon Sign-On Letter on Medicare Payments to House Leadership
Download this PDF to read the Rep. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) sign on-letter that asks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to prioritize aversion of the Medicare physician payment cuts. This will also be sent to Congressional offices in advance of your virtual meetings with your Representatives on September 28.

'Practicing Your Pitch' - Helpful tips for explaining the "asks" and meetings with Congress
Download this PDF for helpful tips on meeting with members of Congress and how to advocate and personally share the importance of the asks to you.

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