Washington Round-up - For the week ending December 16

Additional AST Legislative Victories Included within the 21st Century CURES Act Signed into Law Yesterday by President Obama


As you may be aware, the AST advocated strongly throughout the last two years of this 114th Congress for passage of the 21st Century CURES Act.  Working from the beginning with both House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Upton (R-MI), Congresswoman DeGette (D-CO) and the many stakeholder organizations supporting the legislation, the Society pressed consistently in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for support and passage of the proposal.  The comprehensive legislation includes additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), resources for the Food and Drug Administration and establishes pathways for the advancement of cutting edge areas of interest to include regenerative and precision medicine.  As this legislation was organized for passage over the last month, a few additional AST-supported healthcare related bills were attached to the final 21st Century CURES Act as signed into law yesterday by President Obama. 

In addition to the many positive provisions included in the 21st Century CURES Act, there were two additional pieces of legislation that made the final cut and were included in the final law.  Those bills included:

* Hospital Readmissions Penalty Carve Out for Transplant Patients; and the

* Next Generation Researchers Act.


Hospital Readmissions Provision

Over the last two year session of Congress, AST worked closely with House Ways& Means Chairman Brady (R-TX) and Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) to advance legislation to carve-out and remove transplant patients as a hospital readmissions penalty category under the Medicare Program.  AST worked collaboratively with Congressional leaders to educate elected officials, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and others regarding the nature of transplant patients and the increased necessity for hospital readmissions.  The Society recognized both Chairman Brady and Congressman Renacci as Legislators of the Year at a special AST Capitol Hill reception ceremony earlier in this Congress.


Next Generation Researchers Act

AST was officially recognized yesterday by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in their Senate press release announcing that the “Next Generation Researchers Act” was included in the 21st Century CURES Act and signed into law by President Obama.  The AST-supported legislation was included as an amendment to the 21st Century CURES Act.  Former AST President Dr. Maryl Johnson was instrumental early in this 114th Congress in communicating as a Wisconsin constituent physician leader with Senator Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressional leadership.  Senator Baldwin’s office had reached out to the AST during the early stages of legislative development before introducing the legislation.  For a description of the Next Generation Act and specific mention of AST as a supporting organization, see the joint Senate press release.