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    Urology's advocacy priorities: One down, four to go

    American Association of Clinical UrologistsBased on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or [email protected] for more information.

    "A monumental achievement."

    "An important night for the Senate and it is going to be long remembered."

    In a dysfunctional legislative body that rarely approves anything other than motions to adjourn, these statements by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), respectively, are historic in their own right.

    READ - Good riddance, SGR: Urology groups, others react

    That they were uttered after the Senate passed legislation of vital importance to physicians should be a source of pride for the entire health care community.

    Indeed, without tens of thousands of letters, calls, tweets, and Hill visits made by urologists and their colleagues in recent months, H.R. 2, the bill to repeal the Medicare payment sustainable growth rate formula, would have likely languished for another year or more.

    Having completed a well-deserved victory lap, it's time to tune up our engines and head right back to the race track to advance the specialty's remaining advocacy priorities.

    IPAB repeal

    Without a single member even nominated to serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the bureaucratic construct remains worrying. While the growth of the Medicare budgetary line item hasn't reached a point that the IPAB is required to "recommend" cuts to physician payments, that day could come at any time. Without an empanelled IPAB, sole authority rests in the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

    Two bills have been introduced to repeal the IPAB. In the House, H.R. 1190 is considered bipartisan, with 196 Republican and 19 Democrat co-sponsors. The Senate's version of the "Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act," S. 141, secured 37 co-sponsors, all of whom fall within the GOP's ranks.

    NEXT: USPSTF reform

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