Massachusetts Medical Society: How to Oppose Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal

How to Oppose Graham-Cassidy ACA Repeal



Stand up for patients by opposing Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal

Next week, the US Senate may vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would replace the ACA with a series of block grants, slashing Massachusetts’ federal funding for health care. As a result, the Commonwealth could see a reduction in federal funding of more than $5 billion. The bill would also overturn protections for patients with preexisting conditions and undo coverage of essential health benefits, meaning that coverage will no longer ensure access to care for countless patients, especially the most vulnerable. You can learn more about our opposition to this bill by reading our joint statement.

You can help us stop this! Email no later than Monday, September 25 at 1:00 p.m. EST, cc-ing and Nikki_Hurt@markey.senate.govYou can use the sample email below, and feel free to add your own thoughts:

Members of the Senate Finance Committee,

As a physician who cares deeply about the ability of America’s patients to access the care they need, I write in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill to replace the ACA. This bill is just as bad as the ACA repeal efforts that came before. My home state has worked hard to improve the well-being of its residents, and this bill would clearly undo many of the gains that we have worked hard to achieve over the years.

Any physician knows that when it comes to our patients, coverage doesn’t always mean care. By overturning protections for patients with preexisting conditions and by slashing coverage of essential health benefits, this bill would leave too many patients between the cracks – especially the most vulnerable.

Rather than stripping health care from millions of Americans, Congress now has an opportunity to take a bipartisan approach toward stabilizing the insurance markets and fixing the ACA. I urge you to take that opportunity and join me in opposing Graham-Cassidy.

Amicus brief: MMS opposes incarceration for opioid relapse

An amicus brief filed in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court by the MMS and other organizations seeks to influence the potentially landmark case of Julie Eldred, a Massachusetts woman with opioid use disorder who was required to remain substance-free as a condition of her probation and later tested positive for fentanyl. “At stake in this pivotal case is whether an individual can be incarcerated or otherwise sanctioned because of a recurrence of a symptom; in this instance, relapse, a common symptom many with opioid use disorder experience before attaining complete abstinence,” said Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society; read more about the Society's position.

Public Health Leadership Forum: Transforming Health Through Technology

Advances in technology have changed the ways we obtain, disseminate, analyze, and apply health information. The MMS Annual Public Health Leadership Forum, The Promise and Pitfalls of Transforming Health through Technology and Information, will convene policy leaders, researchers, and public health experts to explore technology’s role in improving population health. The event will be held on October 26, 2017, at MMS Headquarters, Waltham; information, including CME credit designation, and registration. For more on how technology is driving health care delivery (and vice versa), see the forthcoming October issue of Vital Signs.

Saturday priority: Take our survey and get your free CME

What are your views on medical-aid-in-dying (also called physician-assisted suicide)? When you complete our 10–15 minute survey, you will receive free access to one MMS end-of-life focused online CME program. This Saturday (tomorrow), MMS members who have not yet completed our survey on medical-aid-in-dying will receive an email with the survey link asking for your opinions. We're hoping to catch you when you have 10 minutes to fill this out. Your views are highly valuable to the Society. If you do not receive the email, please check your spam folder. If you requested a paper copy of the survey and haven't yet sent it in, please fax it to (781) 434-7373. Thank you in advance for your participation.

New CDC resource: Help families deal with disaster relocation

The CDC has published a handout designed to help families with the stress of relocating after a disaster. The guide includes information about how stress manifests from the preschool years through old age, and additional resources.

What's up at the State House

Improving access to primary care

The Society provided testimony in support of several bills that will improve access to primary care physicians in all parts of the Commonwealth. In particular, the MMS supports continuing a successful loan repayment program that is essential to the recruitment and retention of primary care physicians and other clinicians at community health centers, and helping to fund graduate medical education programs for primary care, family medicine, behavioral health, and other specialties experiencing physician shortages.

Weighing in on medical malpractice

The Society testified in support of three bills that seek to make improvements to the medical malpractice and professional liability processes in Massachusetts, including a provision to reduce liability in treble damages settlements, and grant qualified civil immunity to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who provide emergency medical services.

Additional testimony

The Society provided testimony:

  • In support of bills that would ensure parity in the provision of MassHealth behavioral health services;
  • In opposition to bills that would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists to practice without physician supervision, and a bill that would restrict legislative discretion and jurisdiction for bills affecting the delivery of healthcare.

Reminders: Stuff you should click on

NEXT WEEK: Crucial Conversations in an Era of Transition

Join us for this free, livestreamed event. Our two moderated panels will answer these questions:

  • How can you empower physicians at the practice management and care delivery levels? And how can patients become more active and engaged participants in the care process? Our presenters include Sarika Aggarwal, MD, CMO at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, and Adam Licurse, MD, MHS, assistant medical director at Brigham and Women's Physician Organization and associate medical director at Partners Center for Population Health.
  • What are the current and future models of physician compensation? This panel features practice management consultants and compensation law experts.

For the first time, PPRC Talks will be webinar-only, to facilitate your participation. The event will be held on September 29, 2017, 10:00 a.m.–noon; more information and registration.

Discover ways to access community resources for patient care

Four critical areas that influence the health of communities include housing, transportation, food security and language competency. What are the best practices and innovations to access community resources for these areas? Join us to learn and discuss with experts and others on the front line. The free forum is on October 25, 2017, at the MMS headquarters in Waltham, hosted by the Committee on Senior Volunteer Physicians; information and registration.

Network with providers committed to LGBT care

Join us to meet colleagues and share ideas and experiences. Joshua Safer, MD will be recognized by receiving the MMS 2017 LGBT Health Award for his outstanding contributions to patients’ health in the LGBT community. This event is sponsored by the MMS Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Matters at Club Café in Boston on October 26, 2017, at 7:00 p.m; information and registration.

Apply for LGBT health disparities grant

MMS members who are medical students and residents/fellows can submit proposals to address health disparities in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The MMS Committee on LGBT Matters is offering grants for curriculum development or research. The proposal deadline is October 30, 2017. Download the application form.

2018 Annual Awards: Help MMS recognize physicians' achievements

Do you have a colleague who deserves to be nominated for their outstanding work or service to the community? The MMS recognizes excellence in multiple categories, including: medical service or public health; contributions to medical education, men’s health, women’s health, women’s physician leadership, or reducing health disparities; service to the MMS; and more. The MMS and its Committee on Recognition Awards are currently seeking nominations for the 2018 Annual Award Program; additional  information and applications.

Students and residents: Apply for our $3,000 IT in Medicine Awards

The annual MMS Information Technology in Medicine awards are for medical students, residents, and fellows who come up with innovative ways to use technology in the practice of medicine, the teaching of medicine, or the pursuit of clinical research. Applications are due by November 26, 2017; more information.

Appointments, awards, publications? Share your news

Vital Signs, the monthly print and online newsletter of the MMS, is now listing your professional news — such as joining a new hospital, opening a practice, or a recent promotion — and your other achievements: board appointments, awards, or speaking engagements. We are currently seeking submissions for the November issue of Vital Signs. Please include your full name and title, medical school with graduation year, residency institution, hospital affiliation, recent update, and a high-resolution headshot. Send submissions to by September 29, 2017.

MMS members honored during Women in Medicine Month

Women In Medicine

MMS member Dr. Donna Younger, whose career included 50 years at the Joslin Diabetes Center, is among women honored in a new exhibition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (currently located at the East Campus cafeteria). Through September, the MMS is sharing the stories and insights of women across Massachusetts—from medical students to established trailblazers. To join that conversation, please check out Facebook and Twitter, the September issue of Vital Signs, and our website. This coverage is based in interviews with 20 medical students and physicians, whose themes include career strategies and mentorship, work-life tensions, avoiding burnout, the value of MMS, and more.

TOMORROW: Climate change and the risk of nuclear war

Please join us this Saturday for a timely and urgent symposium on Climate Change and the Growing Risk of Nuclear War: An Agenda for Change, organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility and sponsored by the MMS and the Mass. Chapter of the American College of Physicians (among others). The event features local and national activists and thinkers on these existential issues and how they intersect. We will address the perils we face and how to overcome them. The event will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at Hadley Farms Meeting House (41 Russell St, Hadley, MA), 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Students attend free; everyone else can register here. Registration costs $35 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Learn more at the event website and Facebook page.

Educational programs and events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are held at MMS headquarters, 860 Winter St., Waltham, MA. View our full calendar of upcoming live CME activities. 

14th Annual Public Health Forum – The Promise and Pitfalls of Transforming Health through Technology and Information
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The above activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ 

Featured online CME courses – Risk Management  

The above activities have been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ 

Find additional risk management online CME activities.

This week in health care

Sign up for daily roundups of health news affecting Massachusetts.

Planned Parenthood MA: Graham-Cassidy bill 'devastating to women'
Close to 50 percent of patients at the Western Massachusetts health center of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts are insured through MassHealth, which covers low- and moderate-income individuals and whose budget represents a combination of state and federal funding.

Prison head testifies about facilities for disabled in fatal crash case
Earlier this month, Casler's friends asked the judge to show compassion, while the victims' families said he made the choice to get behind the wheel knowing his legs were affected by his disease. 

Mass. among states hit hardest by latest GOP Obamacare repeal plan
If enacted, the legislation could hit Massachusetts harder than all other states, with a more than $5 billion loss in federal funding, according to a Politico analysis of estimates Cassidy's office released this month. 

'Forbidden topic' plagues nurses
Some 165 nurses are enrolled in the state's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, and so far eight people have lost their licenses this year for failing to complete the mandatory five-year program. 

Maternity care at Mass. hospitals varies widely
According to the data, 35 hospitals met benchmarks for early elective deliveries, keeping rates below 5 percent. Additionally, 19 hospitals met benchmarks for incidence of episiotomy, with rates below 5 percent, and 14 hospitals met benchmarks for Caesarean section, with rates below 23.9 percent.

How Massachusetts should prepare for a hurricane 
Even if Jose is downgraded to a tropical storm, flooding and damaging winds are still a major concern. Here are some ways the Massachusetts Emergency Management Association says you should prepare for a hurricane. 

Tom Brady promotes muscle pliability for better health
On average, a professional football player lasts just six years in the NFL. Compare that to Brady, who is two games into his 18th season. He credits his longevity to a more holistic approach to fitness.

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