KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Doctors Agree On Need To Change Medicare Pay, But Not How

Doctors widely believe that the Medicare payment system is unfair, but they disagree about how to fix it, according to a recent study, MedPage Today reports. "While physicians generally support changing how Medicare reimburses doctors, most don't support payment reforms that would reduce their own incomes, according to survey results published in the Oct. 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Physician spending accounts for about one-fifth of all healthcare spending, but the clinical decisions of doctors are a 'major factor' in rising healthcare costs, and many have looked to physician reimbursements as 'potential targets to promote cost savings and establish incentives to improve care,' wrote the study authors, who were led by Alex Federman, MD, MPH, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine."

A quick look at key findings: The percentage of doctors who like the idea of "bundling" payments for episodes of care? Just 17 percent. The percentage that think pay for primary care doctors should be increased? Eighty percent. The portion who say it would be wise to offset those increases by cutting payments to specialist? Less than half as many, or 39 percent (Walker, 10/25).

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