May 8, 2017

By  Mike Amery, Esq., Senior Legislative Counsel

It was great to see everyone at the AAN Annual Meeting in Boston. This marked my 17th meeting and they get better every year.

One of the things we did in the advocacy area this year was hold a daily poll. Completely unscientific, but interesting nonetheless. One of the questions was about the format of Capitol Hill Report: blog style or bullet point?

The votes were strongly in favor of bullet points, so I'm going to shake it up and try it out for a few editions. Let me know what you think at

Congress Agreed on a Final 2017 Funding Plan

  • National Institutes of Health: $34 billion. Increase of $2 billion (6.2%), includes $352 million from the 21st Century Cures Act
    • BRAIN Initiative: $260 million. Increase of $110 million, which was a request of the AAN's Neurology on the Hill effort in February
    • Alzheimer's disease: $1.39 billion. Increase of $400 million
    • NINDS: $1.783 billion. Increase of $87 million
  • Telehealth: $1.5 million. Directs the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)  to develop a plan to create a telehealth center of excellence
  • Opioid abuse: $800 million, a significant increase from $150 million. The money will be shared between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),  and HRSA

US House Narrowly Passed the Amended American Health Care Act (AHCA)

  • The AHCA is a bill that repeals and replaces several provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Due to concerns about reduced access to health insurance coverage,  the AAN and most other medical groups oppose the bill. The legislation will now advance to the Senate.

FAST Act Now Has 78 Cosponsors

  • AAN member Lee Schwamm, MD, FAHA, of Harvard Medical School, will testify in support of the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act, HR 1148, as part of the CHRONIC Care Act,  S. 870, authored by Finance Committee Chair Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR).

AAN Requests Bipartisan Approach to Continue Full Funding of CSRs

  • The AAN signed on to a  letter requesting a bipartisan approach to ensure continued full funding of cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to maintain stability to the insurance markets so individuals in the exchanges can maintain access coverage. CSRs help nearly seven million enrollees access care by defraying their cost-sharing obligations, including co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles.

AAN's Annual Meeting in Boston is Shaping up to be Record Attendance, Raised Almost $80,000 for BrainPAC

  • A highlight of the meeting  was an address by Rep. Ami Bera, MD, (D-CA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) to more than 100 attendees at the Advocacy Experiential Learning Area. 414 AAN members contributed almost $80,000 to the AAN's political action committee, BrainPAC, at the Annual Meeting.The 2017 Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum kicks off next weekend in San Antonio, TX.