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In January 2017, Congress decided to use the lesser known legislative vehicle called budget reconciliation for repealing the ACA. Created by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, budget reconciliation allows for expedited consideration of certain tax, spending, and debt limit legislation. In the Senate, reconciliation bills are not subject to filibuster and the scope of amendments is limited, giving this process real advantages for enacting controversial budget and tax measures such as ACA repeal.

Congress has enacted 20 budget reconciliation bills since 1980, the first year they employed the process. Use of this less-than-common approach led some in Washington to

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has repeatedly cautioned health care policymakers that kidney diseases are at staggering levels and, for decades, there have been too few new therapies for treating patients. Now, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has conducted a study and published its findings in a new report released January 18, 2017, National Institutes of Health: Kidney Disease Research Funding and Priority Setting, that statistically validates these points. The report highlights the inadequacies of federally funded medical research for kidney diseases in the face of a staggering burden on patients and taxpayers.

GAO

In late 2016, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, a sweeping medical innovation bill authorizing more National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and supporting patient perspectives in U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals.

ASN advocated for these and other provisions in the new law, including calling on the NIH to support prize competitions to improve patients’ lives in fields where there is a significant disease burden, or where current investment is disproportionately small relative to federal costs. With 20 million Americans with kidney disease and over 600,000 with end stage renal

Bridget M. Kuehn

Telehealth services for home dialysis patients and care for patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) will get a boost from changes to the Physician Fee Schedule and the End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in October and November.

The changes, which go into effect in 2017, are part of an ongoing effort by the agency to improve care quality while lowering costs by changing the way care is delivered and clinicians are paid, according to the agency. The changes expand access to outpatient dialysis for patients with acute

David White

With Kidney Week 2016 in review and the end of the year rapidly approaching, one New Year’s treat is already waiting for everyone. It arrived January 1, 2017, as scheduled. The New Year heralds the beginning of the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) that was created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

Congress passed MACRA in 2015 with large bipartisan vote margins in both the Senate and House of Representatives. There is widespread consensus that while parts of the program may have to be adjusted if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or modified, the new Medicare

Heraclitus could have been speaking about the present-day practice of medicine with his gaze focused on the future—especially in nephrology. American Society of Nephrology (ASN) President Raymond C. Harris, MD, FASN, recently underscored this thought in ASN Kidney News when he wrote “how we practice currently will be very different from practice patterns 20, 10, or even 5 years from now.”

Currently, ASN’s Public Policy Board (PPB), along with other key partners in the kidney care community, are working to channel that change into three separate, yet complementary, paths as it plans for 2017 and beyond.

Innovation

Kidney

Bridget Kuehn

With Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump proposing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promising to strengthen and expand it, this year’s presidential race offers stark choices on health care reform.

Health care reform has played a prominent role since the start of the 2016 presidential campaign season, with candidates and even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposing everything from a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to Medicare for all. As voters prepare to head to the polls, health policy experts say there are still many unanswered questions about how the health

Grant Olan

On Thursday, July 7, the ASN Research Advocacy Committee participated in meetings at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during the society’s annual Kidney Research Advocacy Day (Table 1). ASN Research Advocacy Committee Chair Frank C. Brosius, MD, and ASN Public Policy Board Chair John R. Sedor, MD, FASN, also participated in a first-ever ASN meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday, July 8.

The Research Advocacy Committee urged the NIH and VA to pool resources and knowledge toward uncovering new discoveries and innovations for preventing

Grant Olan

ASN President Raymond C. Harris MD, FASN, (left) and Raymond M. Hakim MD, PhD, (right) meet with congressional Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN, center) in his office on Capitol Hill to discuss the Living Donor Protection Act (S. 2584/H.R. 4616).

For the fourth consecutive year, the ASN Public Policy Board and Board of Advisors partnered with patient advocates from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) in Washington, DC, to host Kidney Health Advocacy Day 2016 in April. The goal of Kidney Health Advocacy Day 2016 was to bring kidney patients and kidney doctors together to meet with members of Congress

Grant Olan and David White

Congress is not expected to accomplish much before the general election season begins in earnest this summer, but there is broad bipartisan support for accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new therapies.

With overwhelming support, the House of Representatives passed major legislation in July 2015 called the 21st Century Cures Initiative that would spur medical innovation and drug development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate is currently considering advancing a similar legislative package of its own. This spring, the Senate held three hearings and passed 19 bills that incorporate