Health Reform Debate Continues

A delegation of the North Carolina Medical Society has traveled to Houston, Texas to participate in the AMA Annual Meeting. As you would expect, health system reform is a hot topic especially in light of the forthcoming vote scheduled for this weekend in the US House. NCMS Delegates will be advocating for the AMA to reflect the guiding principles adopted by NC physicians in May of this year. According to the NCMS Guiding Principles, a comprehensive reform package needs to:

  • Avoid Medicare Rates for a Public Option.  Medicare rates currently account for compensation well below the cost to deliver care.  The inadequacy of the current rate has already forced physicians to limit their Medicare patient mix.  The establishment of any government or “public” run option based on the current Medicare rates will further undermine or eliminate patient choice.   Congress should fix the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula as a part of any reform efforts in order to truly provide for access to care for all.
  • Include Medical Liability Reform. No major medical liability reform initiatives have been addressed.  The cost of defensive medicine contributes significantly to the rising cost of health care. Until comprehensive medical liability reform is enacted, the enormous cost of defensive medicine will continue to burden health plans, small business and government-run plans.
  • Cover Everyone and Ensure Patient Choice. Any health care legislation should ensure that Americans have a choice of their health plan and physician, and a right to privately contract with that physician. Freedom to choose your physician and health plan is a fundamental and essential ingredient to any successful health reform initiative.
  • Include Physician Driven Quality. Quality of care must be physician-directed since quality of care initiatives generated by payers are often “cost” driven, without significant clinical relevance. Quality of care standards for our patients must be established by physicians and never compromised by private insurance or public options in cost containment efforts.

Any proposed bill by the Congress will need to meet these essential elements in order to provide accessible, cost-effective and high quality healthcare to all Americans. The NCMS encourages you to contact your Representative to let them know about these essential items as well as other concerns that you might have about the pending bills. You can click here to use the NCMS CapWiz Alert system to call or email your Representative.

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