conditions. Because of this, Democrats will
likely pursue broad oversight, exploring the
consequences for patients and consumers of
administration policies such as reduced funding for ACA outreach, expansion of short-term
policies, and work requirements for certain
Meanwhile in the Senate, Leader McConnell’s
top priority is to defend the Republican majority
in the Senate leading up to the 2020 election.
While the GOP is favored to maintain control of
the Senate, there will be more Republicans than
Democrats up for reelection in 2020 ( 34 seats will
be up for reelection in total, and 22 of those are
Republican seats). Since Republicans secured a
53–47 majority in November, Democrats now must
net four Senate seats in 2020 to gain control.
Sen. McConnell will likely try to secure as many
policy wins, such as judicial nominee approvals,
as possible for Republican senators.
AMGA’s Potential Impact
AMGA sees possibility for success when navigating this new Congress. Democrats may be
more receptive to the implementation of MACRA
and increasing participation in the Merit-based
Incentive Payment System. Rep. Suzan DelBene
(D-WA) championed this issue, and likely House
Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee
Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) has also supported
AMGA in this regard.
One of the foremost impediments to taking
risk for AMGA members is the lack of access to
administrative claims data. This is one of AMGA’s
top issues, and with a Democratic House, AMGA
sees potential for progress on data sharing.
On the other hand, one of AMGA’s chief concerns is preserving the Stark Law’s In-office
Ancillary Services Exception for AMGA members.
In the past, some Democrats have attempted to
eliminate this exception, and AMGA will remain
vigilant on this issue.
Lastly, new reports have estimated that the
United States will breach its debt limit in the
summer of 2019. Debt limit negotiations have historically led to the possibility of Medicare cuts on
the provider side. AMGA is wary of this risk, and
will strongly combat proposals to reduce physician payment within the Medicare program.
Sarah Skirmont is government affairs assistant at
AMGA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Involved Now
This next year in Congress will present many opportunities for
legislative involvement for AMGA members. A robust Congressional agenda and the House and Senate floor schedule aligns
with two of AMGA’s biggest events of the year: Capitol Hill Day
and the 2019 Annual Conference. This year, AMGA will hold Capitol Hill Day in conjunction with Annual Conference, taking place
Thursday, March 28. Your members of Congress will likely be
debating significant policies around the same time, making your
voice increasingly influential in healthcare policy. We encourage
you to use Capitol Hill Day to reach out to your representatives
on the Hill during this crucial time.
As always, Capitol Hill Day is a complimentary program. Every
year, AMGA staff arrange your meetings, as well as accompany
you around Capitol Hill, if desired.
If you would like to inform your member of Congress about
how their vote affects your organization and patients,
sign up for Capitol Hill Day during your registration for the
Annual Conference ( amga.org/ac19). You can also contact
Christina Lavoie ( email@example.com ) or Sarah Skirmont
( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more information on the
program and how to register.