MGMA16: What the future holds for healthcare and MACRA after the election

SAN FRANCISCO--With the national election that will decide a new president and many Congressional races now just days away, the leaders of the Medical Group Management Association’s government affairs team were offering no predictions Wednesday about the results.

MGMA conference logo

One prediction, however: No matter who the country’s 45th president will be, many healthcare issues will continue to be on the radar in Washington from the future of the Affordable Care Act to Medicaid expansion to mental health, said Anders Gilberg, senior vice president for government affairs at MGMA, on the closing day of the organization’s annual conference.

What remains to be seen is whether there will be bipartisanship cooperation in Washington or gridlock, he added.

“The goal is addressing total cost of care,” said Gilberg, about the push for Medicare value-based payment reform that was the dominate issue for medical practices this year as the government moved to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

“This was a historic, landmark piece of legislation,” said Jennifer McLaughlin, J.D., senior associate director of government affairs.

The new administration will not likely change MACRA, which Congress passed with strong bipartisan support. “The law is set in place at this point,” said Gilberg.

However, medical practices can expect continued oversight by Congress as to how MACRA is carried out, he said. In fact, leaders of the GOP Doctors Caucus, an 18-member group of Republican lawmakers that includes eight physicians and others with ties to healthcare, last week said they would not rule out further action by Congress if the new payment system needs fixing. They expressed concern that the new MACRA rule is too complicated and could mean physicians drop out of the Medicare program.