Addressing the Medicare physician payment system is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's “short list of getting things done this summer,” the panel's chairman said today during a congressional hearing on the issue.
Doc-pay solution a high priority: Upton
“Although we cannot afford the current rate of spending on physician services, we also know that, if the pending 29.4% fee cuts are allowed to go into effect, a large good number of doctors will be forced out of Medicare and a large number of Medicare beneficiaries will lose their access to care,” Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in his opening remarks during a health subcommittee hearing.
House members from both parties said they are eager to find a solution to Medicare's current system to pay physicians for their services. They heard about a wide range of potential solutions from a seven-member panel, including former CMS Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan and current AMA President Cecil Wilson, who outlined the AMA's three-part approach to fixing the system. Wilson said he thinks there is consensus among physician groups, and that consensus includes repealing the sustainable growth-rate formula, implementing a period of stable physician payments, and exploring options on how to structure and pay for care. On the latter, Wilson said a “one-size-fits-all” approach won't work.
“You've got to adjust it to differences in geography, it's a big country,” Wilson said after the hearing, “differences in culture, and, particularly from the standpoint of physicians and health practitioners, differences in models of care that are different in different parts of the country.”
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