The American College of Radiology (ACR) has joined more than 75 national medical specialty societies, patient advocacy groups and employers in support of recently introduced legislation that would give the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) greater flexibility to assess the potential fiscal benefits of health care legislation.
Introduced on July 6 by Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Preventive Health Savings Act (S-3126) provides the chairman or ranking member of either budget- or health-related committees in both chambers the ability to request the CBO analyze whether health care legislation results in substantial health savings outside of the normal 10-year budget window. An official letter of support cosigned by the ACR was sent to the principle sponsors of the Senate legislation at the end of July.
The practice of legislative “scoring,” or a non-partisan economic assessment conducted by the CBO to determine if a bill raises revenue, saves money or adds to the deficit is a controversial Congressional topic. Numerous fiscally conservative members are reluctant to consider legislation that is deemed by CBO to require additional federal spending. This political roadblock severely limits the likelihood of many bills being enacted into law.
Currently, CBO only assesses legislation through a 10-year budget window. Numerous health care stakeholders, however, feel this particular analysis is too rigid and fails to incorporate future savings that may occur beyond the initial decade.
The ACR supports expanding the standard budgetary review window with the belief that numerous imaging screening procedures can easily produce tremendous savings if CBO conducted 20- or 30-year scoring projections.
A companion House bill (H.R 3660), introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, (R-TX), has 32 bipartisan cosponsors. Congressional gridlock, a condensed legislative calendar, the impending presidential elections and competing policy priorities make passage of H.R. 3660/S. 3126 unlikely during the 114th Congress. Nevertheless, both Democrats and Republicans are discussing making wholesale changes to the budget, appropriations and CBO scoring processes next year. The ACR hopes the Preventive Health Savings Act will help further this effort.