Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
Influence lame duck session: Join grassroots advocacy
With the elections over, members of Congress are back in the nation's capital for a lame duck session that will force lawmakers to make some important decisions affecting the future of medicine.
Join the AMA Physicians' Grassroots Network to stay up to date on the latest legislative developments and identify opportunities to encourage your lawmakers to make the right decisions.
Urgent issues on the table revolve around the so-called "fiscal cliff," which threatens a number of drastic tax and spending policy changes, including:
- Across-the-board spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Required to total $109 billion per year, these cuts affect both defense spending and domestic programs, including a 2 percent cut to Medicare physician payments.
- Expiration of the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The tax cuts include individual rates, capital gains, dividends, child tax credit expansion, marriage penalty reduction and the estate tax.
- A patch to the alternative minimum tax. If left unchanged, 28 million Americans would face a hefty additional tax liability.
- Expiration of the 2 percent payroll tax cut.
- Medicare physician payment cuts of 26.5 percent, which are called for under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
- Miscellaneous business tax provisions (also referred to as "tax extenders").
- Unemployment benefit extension.
- Affordable Care Act tax provisions.
A critical piece of this is putting a stop to the Medicare physician payment reductions—totaling nearly 30 percent between the Budget Control Act and SGR cuts—that threaten physicians and their patients.
You can contact your members of Congress through the Physicians' Grassroots Network website or by using the AMA grassroots hotline: (800) 833-6354. Physicians who wish to take on a leadership role in AMA grassroots activities also can join the AMA's Very Influential Physician program.
Webinar to examine opioid overdoses, national response
With unintentional overdoses and deaths from prescription painkillers on the rise, the AMA is hosting a continuing medical education webinar to examine this troubling trend and the nation's public health response.
The webinar, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 12, will feature speakers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention giving an overview of the epidemiology of prescription drug overdoses and deaths. Participants will learn about factors associated with an increased risk in unintentional overdoses from opioids as well as public policy and clinical practice strategies to promote responsible opioid prescribing.
The second webinar in a free 12-part series intended to help physicians develop skills to manage patients with persistent pain while prescribing opioid drugs safely and effectively, this webinar is available for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Each webinar in the series will be archived for on-demand viewing.
Register now to participate in the live webinar.