House bill aims to protect physician decision-making under ACA
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 31, 2012
Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R, Ga.), said during a congressional hearing Dec. 13 that he planned to reintroduce a bill that would better protect a physician’s ability to make health care decisions under the Affordable Care Act.
The law effectively empowers the Health and Human Services secretary to use measures to determine whether a doctor is providing quality health care to people gaining coverage under the statute, Dr. Gingrey claimed. Failure to meet these quality measures, which are undefined by the law, means physicians could lose their health insurance contracts and be forced to shut down their practices, said Dr. Gingrey, a member of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee. He voiced his concerns during the panel’s hearing on various ACA provisions.
In particular, this could hinder physicians from treating patients who obtain their health insurance through the law’s exchanges, Dr. Gingrey said. If the HHS secretary determined, for example, that mammography for women under 50 was unnecessary, “would a physician be able to treat patients in the exchange if they recommended a mammogram for a 49-year-old woman? Apparently not,” he said.
The Safeguarding Care of Patients Everywhere Act would repeal this provision, “protecting patients’ access to their medical providers and ensuring physicians may continue treating individuals as they deem necessary,” Dr. Gingrey said in an earlier statement on the bill.
The legislation was introduced in August, and Dr. Gingrey said he would reintroduce the bill during the 113th Congress, which starts in January 2013.