Members of the American Medical Association House of Delegates are headed for what's likely to be a heated debate over whether to recommend that Medicare and Medicaid transition to “premium support” models.
The proposed positions will be considered when the delegates meet in Chicago June 16-20 and receive reports from the AMA Council on Medical Service, which acts as an advisory body to the House of Delegates on socio-economic issues such as payment reform, healthcare costs and covering the uninsured.
Republican-backed proposals to replace traditional fee-for-service Medicare with premium subsidies to enable beneficiaries to get coverage from private insurers have become a flash point as Congress and President Barack Obama do battle over how to rein in federal spending and will likely become a central argument in the contest between Obama and GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney.
The AMA council writes in the Medicare report that the long-term sustainability of the Medicare trust fund and the “repeated failure of Congress” to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth-rate payment formula “perpetuates a state of instability” that has created an urgent need for change.
At its annual meeting, the AMA House of Delegates reviews reports and votes on whether to accept, reject or refer them back for additional work. If accepted, a report's recommendations either become directives—such as conducting additional study or drafting model legislation—or become policy and, as such, become the official stance of the organization.