AMA reaffirms support for Medicare private contracting

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 15, 2013

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The American Medical Association continues its support of federal legislation that would enable physicians and seniors to contract for services outside of the Medicare program.

Medicare beneficiaries currently must pay out of pocket if they want to see a physician who doesn’t accept Medicare, wrote James L. Madara, MD, the AMA’s executive vice president and CEO, to Rep. Tom Price, MD (R, Ga.), the lead sponsor of the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act. Dr. Price’s legislation “would allow seniors to use their current Medicare coverage to see any physician, even one that does not participate in the Medicare program,” Dr. Madara wrote.

This would provide Medicare beneficiaries with the kind of out-of-network options that many in private plans currently have, Dr. Madara wrote, adding that the legislation would increase access to care for these beneficiaries. Medicare beneficiaries and physicians have become frustrated with the “formula fixes, costly mandates and paperwork” associated with the program, the letter stated.

Dr. Price had introduced his legislation in the previous Congress. Similar legislation has been introduced in the upper chamber by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska).

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