KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Bipartisan Proposal Would Change The Way U.S. Values Medical Procedures

Some members of Congress believe it is time to "redo the RUC" and strengthen oversight of the American Medical Association committee that helps to set payment levels.  

The Washington Post: Bill Aims To Reshape Medical Pricing
A bipartisan group of legislators has drafted a bill that would reshape the way the nation pays doctors, responding to criticism that the nation's current method of valuing medical procedures misprices payments. The pricing system, which is used by Medicare and most private insurers, depends upon assessments made by the American Medical Association, the chief lobbying group for physicians. In confidential meetings held every year, the AMA assigns values to thousands of services doctors provide (Whoriskey, 7/23).

CQ HealthBeat: Redo The RUC? McDermott Says Yes, But Will Other Lawmakers?
The top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is hoping to parlay fresh attention to the issue of big Medicare payments for such procedures as colonoscopies into support for legislation that would strengthen oversight of an American Medical Association panel that helps set payment levels (Reichard, 7/23).

Medicare physician payment legislation also draws attention -

Medpage Today: SGR Repeal Bill Gains Broad Support
Physician groups voiced general support for a bill approved Tuesday by a Congressional subcommittee to replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Medical societies agreed that the bill approved by the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee strikes a good balance among the physician community's many interests and is a fair transition away from today's fee-for-service Medicare reimbursement system. However, nearly all also agree the bill is not perfect and more work is needed before a final product is signed into law. They point to the proposal's quality-reporting measures as an example (Pittman, 7/23).

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