Majority of ASC Supporters Retain Their Congressional Seats
Implications of this general election on the ASC community
BY ADAM PARKER | NOVEMBER 2020
While the November 3 general election has not yet provided a definitive answer on which party will control the United States Senate and a number of races remain outstanding in the US House of Representatives, the general contours of the election and its results are clear. While the Trump administration continues to fight legal battles challenging the results of the election, all indications are that President-Elect Joe Biden will assume presidency come inauguration day. In the Senate, Republicans appear poised to retain control of the chamber pending the results of two runoff elections in Georgia between the unity ticket of Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and their two challengers Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock. In the House of Representatives, Democrats suffered losses and will enter the next Congress with a diminished majority. These changes in the composition of government could have a significant impact on the ASC community including on legislation that aims to tackle the barriers to the growth of our healthcare delivery model like the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality and Access Act.
The provisions of the ASC Quality and Access Act, ASCA’s signature legislative initiative, would enact a series of reforms aimed at evening the playing field between ASCs and hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and ensure that Medicare patients continue to have access to the high-quality, cost-effective services ASCs provide, these reforms include:
- Updating reimbursement for ASC services using the same update factor as HOPDs
- Creating transparency of quality reporting and Medicare beneficiary information
- Adding an ASC representative to the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment
- Disclosing criteria used to determine the ASC procedure list
The passage of this legislation depends on the bipartisan support of ASC champions in both the House and the Senate. In the past two Congresses, the ASC Quality and Access Act has accumulated 77 cosponsors in the House and seven cosponsors in the Senate. The cosponsors are drawn to this legislation from across the ideological spectrum by the need to ensure that ASCs are able to continue to provide their valuable services to their communities.
This election, ASCs lost two of their long-time champions in the House. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO), who has been a stalwart supporter of ASCs since 2013, lost his reelection bid in Colorado’s June 30 primary to Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert. And Congressman Kenny Marchant (R-TX), who has been a supporter of the ASC community since 2011, announced his retirement from Congress in August of 2019. Congressman Marchant’s district will be represented next Congress by Republican Congresswoman-elect Beth Van Duyne. Despite these losses ASC supporters remain strong in Congress, the 2020 election saw significantly less attrition for ASC supporters than the 2018 elections with almost 90 percent of ASC supporters retaining their seats including the sponsors of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Quality and Access Act of 2019, Congressman John Larson (D-CT) and the bill’s original cosponsor, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA).
This new Congress is more important now than ever to remain informed about the changes occurring in federal, state and local governments and how they will impact the ASC community and the legislation that aims to help ASCs achieve their potential. Members can sign up to receive alerts on the changes occurring in Congress that impact their communities and the facilities.