Specialty Doctors Express Concern over Fiscal Commission’s Cost Cutting Recommendations

Alliance of Specialty Medicine cautions against paying less for medical care, empowering IPAB

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Alliance of Specialty Medicine (Alliance) today announced their opposition to two of the recommendations coming from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform fearing they would lead to weakened medical care, especially for senior citizens.

"We all agree that we need to do something to fix the national debt, but cutting seniors' access to health care is not the way to do it," said Dr. Alex B. Valadka, a neurosurgeon from Houston, Texas and spokesperson for the Alliance. "The federal government has made a promise to care for seniors with Medicare—a promise that they're very close to breaking. If the panel's recommendations become reality, millions of America's most vulnerable citizens will be unable to get the medical care they need."

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was created by President Barack Obama earlier this year to address the United States’ long term fiscal challenges. The Co-Chairs’ Proposal outlines ways in which the United States government can work to reduce spending and the national debt.

“While we support some ideas included in the commission’s proposal, we can't risk the near term health of seniors for supposed long term benefits the panel hopes to achieve,” Dr. Valadka, said. "Already Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals at rates below the actual cost of providing the medical care seniors need. The Alliance is concerned that any further cuts would seriously jeopardize seniors' access to specialty care."

The Alliance agreed with the panel's recommendation to eliminate the deep cuts from the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula, as well as the recommendation to help offset this cost with medical liability reform. However, the Alliance is very concerned about what a new payment system could look like and that the Co-Chairs propose payment reductions while a new payment system is developed.

The Alliance also strongly disagreed with the fiscal commission’s suggestions to strengthen the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a government entity created by the Affordable Care Act to cut Medicare expenditures. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a 15-member board of non-elected officials charged with recommending vast Medicare spending cuts. The Alliance believes these Medicare cuts would further endanger seniors' access to doctors and lead to rationing of care.

"The sad truth is these government bureaucrats will have incredible power over the medical decisions senior citizens make," Dr. Valadka said. "If the Board decides that certain procedures are too costly, or they refuse to pay for reasonable expenses, then seniors will be caught on the short end of the stick. For this reason alone, IPAB must be repealed, not strengthened."

The Alliance of Specialty Medicine actively engaged in policy discussions during the health care reform debate and continues to work with Members of Congress to develop sound public policies that strengthen our nation’s health care delivery system.

For more information on the Alliance, visit www.SpecialtyDocs.org.

The Alliance of Specialty Medicine is an organization of national medical societies, based in Washington, DC, which represents specialty physicians in the United States. This non-partisan group is dedicated to the development of sound federal health care policy that fosters patient access to the highest quality specialty care. For more information, please visit www.specialtydocs.org.


Alliance of Specialty Medicine
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KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  District of Columbia

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Seniors  Practice Management  Health  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Congressional News/Views  Public Policy  White House/Federal Government  Consumer  General Health  Managed Care