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January 16, 2007


January 16, 2007


Stem Cell Legislation Passes House

On January 11, the House of Representatives passed legislation to expand federal support for stem cell research.  The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, H.R. 3, sponsored by Reps. DeGette (D-CO) and Castle (R-DE) passed the House by vote of 253 to 174. Although the bill passed with strong bipartisan support, it failed to garner the two-thirds majority vote required to overturn a presidential veto by 37 votes. The White House has already warned that it may veto the legislation.

The bill would significantly alter current federal policy by requiring that the federal government conduct and support embryonic stem cell research, regardless of the date on which the stem cell lines were derived and provided that the embryos used were originally created for in vitro fertilization; would otherwise be discarded; and were donated by fully informed, consenting individuals. The stem cell bill passed by the House today is identical to one passed by the House and Senate in July of 2006 but then was vetoed by President Bush. If you would like to know how your Representative voted on the stem cell bill, access the following website, http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/index.asp, and click on Roll # 20.

Action on the stem cell bill now moves to the Senate, where passage is also expected. The ATS Washington office will alert members when their action is needed in support of the Senate bill.


AMA and ATS to Conduct Physician Practice Information Survey

The American Medical Association (AMA) with the support of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and more than 60 other medical specialty societies will begin conducting a multi-specialty survey of America’s physician practices beginning in 2007.  The purpose of the survey is to collect up-to-date information on physician practice characteristics in order to develop and redefine AMA and ATS policy.  Data related to professional practice expenses will also be collected.  The AMA and ATS will survey thousands of physicians over the year from virtually all physician specialties to ensure accurate and fair representation for all physicians and their patients.

During the year 2007, you may be contacted by the Gallup Organization to participate in this study.  We encourage your participation in this survey, as the data obtained will be a critical source of information for the AMA and ATS.   Should you be called upon to contribute, your participation ensures that the information collected will represent you and your patients’ concerns to national policy-makers.  Please watch for this survey in 2007 and do your part in completing it in a thorough and accurate manner.

House Passes Medicare Prescription Drug Legislation

On January 12th, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would require the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, H.R. 4, sponsored by Rep. Dingell (D-MI), passed the House by a vote of 255 to 170.

The legislation overturns a provision of the 2003 Medicare prescription drug law that leaves drug price negotiations under Medicare’s drug benefit up to private insurers who offer drug plans in each state. The bill’s prospects for enactment into law are uncertain as there is no companion bill in the Senate and the White House has indicated that it may veto the bill.

Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator