DJP Update 9-23-2011 Some good news despite economy woes, investigations in Congress etc
Our beloved Land of Liberty, America, has some real challenges: Economy sinking, stock market dropping, unemployment rising, investigations in Congress and other federal agencies for Solyndra, Fast and Furious, LightSquared, etc. If you have been too busy caring for patients to hear the depressing news, here is a link explaining the named investigations above.
THE GOOD NEWS: AMA Board Chair Dr. Robert Wah did a great job advocating to Congress about medical liability reform and the right to privately contract with Medicare patients without penalty. You must watch video on C-Span (see below) to hear and see the testimony of Dr. Wah to House Health Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. (Wow! My first testimony to that committee was Thursday, May 20, 1976 in the hearing on “NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE chaired by Rep Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois – The years go by but the subject remains!)
As you know, I have been critical of AMA’s decision to support PPACA. And many have advocated that AMA change its position. One group, The Coalition of State Medical Societies and National Specialty Societies (all seated in AMA House of Delegates) advocate strongly for AMA policy of private contracting and worked with AMA to get a bill into Congress. That is progress. And the great performance of Dr. Wah for private contracting is another good sign that AMA is listening. So let’s give credit when due. It is due now.
Price-fixing,whether SGR or some new clone, has not worked and will never work.
Health panel hears pros, cons of extending payment exceptions
Read this article to get names of all witnesses
Focusing on these several extended payments ignores the real problem of a broken Medicare physician payment system, according to hearing witness Dr. Robert Wah, chairman of the American Medical Association board of trustees. Wah likened the problem to a leaky boat. “All of the patches we have to maintain because we can’t just pull them all off at this point because the boat is too leaky,” Wah said. “What we need is a new boat.”
But go to this link to watch and hear the testimony of Dr. Wah:
and click on “Medicare Provider Payment Policies” on right with small camera icon to go to C-Span video.
Then go to time mark about 1:06 (one hour 6 minutes of meeting). Congressman Dr. Tom Price is talking at that point and there are good comments immediately after by Dr. Wah regarding medical liability reform and the right for Medicare patients to privately contract. Do note that “independent consultant Mr. Bruce Steinwald”, another witness, wants to think for 2 weeks regarding private contracting!
Go to 1 hour 11 minutes 16 seconds and hear Dr. Wah answer Congressman Dr. Tom Price question about private contracting: Dr. Wah says: it is AMA policy; I support it as an American…fundamental freedom.. Very supportive of your bill…
Dr. Robert Wah did an excellent job pointing out the need for medical liability reform and the need to pass the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act.
Let’s give applause to Dr. Robert Wah, AMA Board Chair. Anyone can give prepared testimony by reading from a page. But the sharp people shine in the Q & A. Dr. Wah proved again he is one of the sharp people. Maybe there is hope that Congress will get on board and allow private contracting regardless of what Medicare pays. That act would keep access to care for patients.
And big applause too for Congressman Dr. Tom Price of Georgia who continues to advance bills supporting patients and physicians.
“Rep. Tom Price, MD introduced H.R. 1700, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, on May 3, 2011. This bill, in line with AMA policy, would allow Medicare patients and their physicians to enter into private contracts without penalty to either party. On May 22, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced S. 1042, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, in the Senate.”
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Donald J. Palmisano, MD, JD
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