2016-02-10 16:45:48 UTC

Proposed 2017 Budget Includes Funding for Key AGA Priorities

Feb. 11, 2016

Proposal includes fix to current Medicare screening colonoscopy coinsurance problem.

President Obama released his proposed budget for a $4.1 trillion spending plan for fiscal year 2017, which “invests in accelerating the pace of American innovation, so we can create jobs and build the economy of the future while tackling our greatest challenges, including addressing climate change and finding new treatments and cures for devastating diseases.” The budget includes increased funding for many programs that will benefit the science and practice of gastroenterology, as well as potential changes to other programs that AGA is still analyzing.  

Fix to Screening Colonoscopy Coinsurance 
The budget proposal includes an important fix to the current Medicare screening colonoscopy coinsurance problem. When undergoing a screening colonoscopy that turns therapeutic, Medicare beneficiaries wake up to learn that the coinsurance for the procedure is not waived since it is no longer considered a screening. AGA, along with our sister societies, the American Cancer Society and other patient advocacy groups, has been working for years to try to fix the issue. 

AGA supports the bipartisan Removing Barriers to Screening Act (H.R. 1220/S.624), which would correct this inequity for Medicare beneficiaries and remove the financial barriers that may prevent a patient from undergoing a screening. AGA is hopeful that the growing support for the legislation on both sides of the aisle and its inclusion in the president’s budget will help get the bill passed before the end of the year. 

Contact your member of Congress to let them know that you support the legislation. 

Investment in Research
Also included in the budget is an increased commitment by the administration to research. The budget provides over $30 billion to support biomedical research at NIH and a $1 billion investment to jumpstart the national “moonshot” initiative, which aims to eliminate cancer as we know it.

Workforce Programs 
The budget also invests $380 million in the National Health Service Corps, which works to build healthy communities by supporting qualified health-care providers dedicated to working in areas across the country with limited access to primary care, which includes $70 million in additional mandatory and discretionary funding for behavioral health and supports the administration’s opioid treatment and mental health initiatives.

There are proposed changes to funding for Graduate Medical Education, Independent Medical Education and reimbursements to hospitals that impact the mission of the academic medical center and teaching hospitals. AGA is analyzing the potential indirect consequences of these sections of the president’s proposed budget, as well as other "cost saving" proposals, which could affect the teaching and practice of gastroenterology.  

Review the president’s proposed budget

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