Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) announced plans at the American Medical Associations National Advocacy Conference to reintroduce legislation that would seek alternatives to the way Medicare pays physicians, and to reward them for investing in health information technology.
Proposing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and a 10% reduction in Medicare physician reimbursement in 2008 have been the administrations strategy to bring down healthcare costs, But that strategy has not worked, Stabenow said. Her bill would establish an all-physician Medicare payment commission that would come up with an alternative to repeal the sustainable growth-rate formula, which ties payments to the health of the economy.
The formula is a flawed, inequitable mechanism that needs to be repealed, Stabenow said. In addition, she and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) plan on reintroducing a health IT bill that would offer a tax credit for physicians who invest in IT equipment. Cutting down on forms through health IT could save as much as $80 billion to $100 billion per year, she said, citing previous estimates.