came to Washington primarily to meet with lawmakers and congressional staff to educate them about key
ACS legislative priorities.†‡
While the Advocacy Summit takes place once a
year, Fellows can engage with their members of Congress and local legislators at any time. DAHP staff is
available to assist Fellows in arranging congressional
meetings, either in-district or in Washington, to discuss ACS legislative priorities. An updated list of the
College’s legislative priorities and their corresponding legislative one-page issue briefs are available at
Health care reform
The College remains actively involved in efforts to
address the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other health
care reform legislation. The House passed the American Health Care Act in May, and in July the Senate
tried and failed to pass any legislation to repeal and/or
replace the ACA. The College has outlined concerns
regarding key bills in letters to the following legislators: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Finance
Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader
Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The College continues to work to ensure that its
health care reform principles—patient safety and quality, patient access to surgical care, reduced health care
costs, and medical liability reform—are included in any
congressional compromise legislation. Details regarding these health care reform principles are as follows:§
• Safety and quality: The ACS supports well-designed clinical comparative effectiveness research, physician quality
data, appropriate public reporting, and encourages realistic health information technology use and adoption.
•Patient access to surgical care: To ensure that surgical
patients have access to appropriate care, a well-trained
surgical workforce must be available and able to meet
the full spectrum of patient needs for both general
surgery and specialty care, including children’s surgical specialists. The ACS maintains that ongoing,
broad health care reform initiatives should be directed
at reform of the health insurance industry, including
efforts to address issues of cost containment, ensure
coverage for medically indigent patients and patients
with preexisting health care conditions, and reduce
• Reduced health care costs: ACS Quality Programs improve
surgical care and cut costs by helping to prevent inef-ficiencies and preventable complications through the
continuous quality improvement process. The College
also has supported payment reforms that would incen-tivize participation in outcomes improvement and patient safety activities.
The ACS further maintains that the development of
Medicare payment policies and other efforts to reduce
health care spending should remain under the purview of Congress with input from stakeholders and
patients. The College, therefore, supports the repeal of
the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an unelected
•Medical liability reform: The mission of the ACS is to
improve the care of the surgical patient, safeguard
standards of care, and create an ethical practice environ-
ment. The present U.S. medical liability system is broken
and fails to encourage an environment in which it is
possible to achieve these objectives. The ACS actively
supports reforms aimed at improving safety, quality, and
accountability; creating a more just tort system, includ-
ing caps on noneconomic damages; and encouraging
†Peregrin T. 2017 Leadership Summit: Leading from behind, build-
ing resiliency, and strengthening nontechnical skills. Bull Am Coll Surg.
2017;102( 8): 88-94. Available at: bulletin.facs.org/2017/08/2017-leadership-
nontechnical-skills/. Accessed August 18, 2017.
‡Walter KR. Key ACS issues, including health care reform, dominate
2017 Advocacy Summit. Bull Am Coll Surg. 2017;102( 8): 95-97. Available at:
dominate-2017-advocacy-summit/. Accessed August 18, 2017.
§American College of Surgeons. 2017 Health Care Reform General Principals Summary. Available at: facs.org/advocacy/federal/2017summary.
Accessed July 20, 2017.