JAN 04, 2018
Congress Keeps Promise to Academy, Derails $25 Billion Medicare Cut
Congressional leaders kept a promise made to the Academy by derailing a new across-the-board cut to Medicare to preserve $25 billion in the program. Following the November introduction of the recently passed tax-reform legislation, the Academy took an early leadership role, alerting elected officials of the potential damage that a tax proposal-triggered cut would cause to physicians.
We received immediate assurances that lawmakers would fix this issue. Congress followed through last month by including a necessary waiver within legislation to temporarily fund the government.
The cuts would have been an unfortunate side effect resulting from the tax bill’s effect on the national deficit. That legislation is expected to add to the federal deficit. Existing law then requires the Office of Management and Budget to issue a new sequestration order.
The waiver avoids this order, which would’ve triggered a maximum 4 percent cut. This cut would’ve affected payments to Medicare physicians.
The Academy enlisted some of our key congressional allies to ensure Republican leadership understood our trepidation. Having champions in Congress helped us gain immediate traction to prevent a $25 billion Medicare sequestration. But with the federal political landscape in flux, 2018 is a critical year for ophthalmology to support the candidates and members of Congress who will have our profession’s back. To do so, we must strengthen the Academy’s OPHTHPAC fund to build lasting federal relationships. Keep OPHTHPAC strong to ensure that in 2018, we’re able to support our carefully chosen candidates early and often.