The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has delivered good news to patients, but it's been a mixed bag for physicians, Dr. Peter Carmel, president of the American Medical Association, said Monday to attendees of the Radiological Society of North America's 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Reform law a mixed bag for docs, AMA president says
As well as providing mechanisms to work toward increasing healthcare access, improving quality, investing in prevention and decreasing costs, Carmel said that the health system reform law has removed coverage restrictions on pre-existing conditions, eliminated co-pays for most preventive care, and gotten rid of “phony baloney dollar limits.”
“The Affordable Care Act is a historic victory,” Carmel told the quiet audience. But, “like so many victories, it is imperfect.”
Among its faults, Carmel said, were the lack of medical liability reforms, the continued use of the sustainable growth-rate formula—or SGR—to calculate physician Medicare payments, and its call for an Independent Payment Advisory Board that could further lower payments to doctors.
Carmel described the IPAB as “another misguided attempt by the government” to control healthcare costs.
On the positive side, Carmel praised the final rule from the CMS that established the foundation for Medicare accountable care organizations, which he said was “dramatically revised” in physicians' favor from what was initially proposed.
Carmel spent much of the time blasting Congress in general and the so-called supercommittee in particular, which he said was given a golden opportunity to replace the SGR, “and they blew it.”
“They couldn't even produce a report,” Carmel said.
He noted that the 27.4% cut in physician Medicare pay set to go in effect this January under the SGR will mean the loss of $1 billion for healthcare providers in Illinois and about $31,000 for every physician in the state.
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