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 Legislative & Policy Corner

On the Horizon: Congress, the President's Budget and AMCHP Day of Action
The same winter storm that canceled the AMCHP Annual Conference canceled votes in the House of Representatives last week as well.  Instead, they will be voting this week to overturn President Obama's veto of the budget reconciliation bill which, among other things, would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act.  Overturning a veto requires a 2/3 vote which is not expected to be achieved.  Next up is the beginning of budget and appropriations season starting with the release of the President's FY17 budget expected February 9.  With Hill Day activities in conjunction with the AMCHP Annual Conference having been canceled, we will be encouraging an AMCHP Day of Action to share Title V priorities with Senators and Representatives following the release of the President's budget.  February-March is a crucial time for Members of Congress to submit their individual requests for FY17 and we will be sending out an action alert to contact your elected officials in order to ensure our funding priorities are their priorities as well!

Health Reform Implementation

Mammograms Still Covered by all Insurance Plans
Several organizations, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Cancer Society, have recently updated their breast cancer screening recommendations. These varying recommendations have caused confusion among women about whether or not a mammogram is covered by their health insurance. To clear up some of this confusion, Dr. Nancy C. Lee, Director of the Office on Women's Health, issued the following statement:

 "I want to make clear that coverage requirements for mammograms have not changed… In December, the President signed a bill that ensures that women's coverage for mammography will remain the same through 2017. Women 40 years and older enrolled in most health insurance plans will continue to be covered for screening mammography every 1–2 years without copays, coinsurance, or deductibles — just as they are today. If a woman 40 years and older and her doctor determine that a mammogram is appropriate, she will not have to pay out of pocket."

President Obama Vetoes ACA Repeal Bill
On February 2nd, President Obama vetoed legislation that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The President's veto was expected, but nevertheless it marks the first time Republicans in Congress have been able to get a bill that would repeal the signature health care law to the White House, after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law. The bill has been sent back to Congress, which has scheduled a vote to override the veto on January 26th. The vote is largely symbolic, as the Republican-controlled Congress lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to override the President's veto. The bill did not pass in the house.

CMS Announces Accountable Health Communities Model
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center) of the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a new funding opportunity to test the efficacy of the "Accountable Health Communities Model, " which is based on emerging evidence that addressing health-related social needs through enhanced clinical-community linkages can improve health outcomes and reduce costs. This five-year program is the first Innovation Center model to focus on the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The model will test three scalable approaches to addressing health-related social needs and linking clinical and community services – community referral, community service navigation, and community service alignment. The $157 million funding for this initiative, provided under the Affordable Care Act, will support up to 44 awards, ranging from $1 million to $4.5 million.