The mid-term elections will have a profound impact on the health care policy landscape, including the impact they will have on orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) policy. The Limb Loss and Preservation Registry (LLPR) is in high gear as the registry prepares to launch as a free-standing entity. Both issues are the subject of this November update.
Election Results and Impact as of November 17th: The so-called “red wave” did not materialize as many experts and pollsters expected, but Republicans took control of the House of Representatives nonetheless. This creates divided government for the first time under the Biden Administration. The predicted total is 222 Republicans to 213 Democrats (although these estimates may change), a margin of four votes to pass legislation in the House. This is similar to the margin of victory in the current Congress on the Democratic side of the aisle. With the Freedom Caucus flexing its muscles, corralling enough Republican votes to pass legislation will be very difficult. Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise were nominated by the Republican Conference for the position of Speaker of the House and Majority Leader, respectively, for the 118th Congress which begins in January. However, Cong. McCarthy must get the votes of at least 218 of his colleagues and he only secured 180 Republicans for his nomination. On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer will step aside from their leadership positions and open up a whole new, untested slate of Democratic leaders in the House.
Democrats held control of the Senate by at least the margin they currently hold. A run-off election in Georgia on December 6th will determine whether the Senate is again split 50-50 or Democrats will have a 51-49 margin. Either way, bipartisanship will be necessary in most instances to move any significant legislation. The lame duck session of Congress will begin in earnest after the Thanksgiving holiday. December 16th is the deadline for Congress to pass a bill to fund the federal government or the federal agencies will shut down. This is considered must-pass legislation and will provide a legislative vehicle on which to attach other legislative priorities, such as telehealth extensions, fixes to the Medicare physician fee schedule which is slated to be cut by 4.47% in 2023, and other health care priorities. NAAOP is working hard with its sister O&P organizations to promote inclusion of key provisions in the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act in this end-of-the-year package, but it’s a serious challenge.
Limb Loss and Preservation Registry: The past month has witnessed a flurry of activity involving the LLPR. Mayo Clinic currently runs the registry through a $5 million contract with the NIH and Department of Defense. Hospitals, hospital systems, and especially O&P clinical practices are signing up for participation in the registry and NAAOP strongly encourages its provider members and friends to join the LLPR as soon as possible. A strong reservoir of data will enable the O&P profession to benefit from an evidence-based platform to improve patient care, enhance quality outcomes, and assist practitioners and patients in making optimal O&P treatment choices. The LLPR has approximately $1.6 million and the next 14 months to launch into a free-standing entity that will serve the O&P and broader health care community. NAAOP urges all O&P clinicians and owners of clinical practices to join the registry today! For more information and to join the LLPR, please contact Bernhardt.Kathie@Mayo.edu.
Happy Thanksgiving from NAAOP to all our members and friends!