It is both an unfortunate reality and also an integral reason why our legislative process works that many of the bills introduced in Congress contain what are often sets of competing initiatives that appear, at least on the surface, to be at cross-purposes and internally inconsistent. That said, it can hardly be argued, when looked at objectively, that financing decisions that reduce choice in healthcare for our seniors, as President Bush suggests would be an outcome of this bill, are not necessarily good ones. Medicare Advantage has been demonstrated to be a service-delivery mechanism that does contain costs, provides a comprehensive and coordinated approach to healthcare and enjoys widespread approval ratings from the beneficiaries covered under this financing mechanism. The GAO and others assertions that it is costing more than fee-for-service is, arguably, not an apples-to-apples comparison, particularly when one considers the additional services typically accompanying Medicare Advantage coverage and the significantly increased regulatory-driven administrative burden under which MA health plans operate.
On the flip side, a policy aimed at stemming the tide of spiraling healthcare costs through the use of physician cuts is somewhat narrow-minded. It suggests that physicians today are over-compensated for the work they do, a value statement over which many would disagree given the remarkable and vital role played by our providers in the health of our nation. It also misses the mark in ignoring the many drivers of costsmalpractice legislation, abuse of technology, fraud and abuse, generally poor outcome and accountability standards, the virtual lack of emphasis on prevention, education of the consumer, to name a few of the low-hanging fruitwhich have been acknowledged now for decades and which in combination could do much more to reduce the rate of increase in healthcare costs than cutting doctors compensation.
Eli SantiagoVice president of operationsHuman ArcCleveland
Maybe a pay cut is in order
I think the physicians pay needs to be cut. The prices they charge are ridiculous. There are a few physicians underpaid, but most are very wealthy and overpaid. Most of them have million dollar homes and multiple cars, while their patients are barely able to survive.
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