Advocacy and policy news for internists
Sen. Baucus Outlines Vision for Health Reform
Plan seeks access for all, strong role for primary care
HealthDay News -- Detailing his vision for health reform focusing on reducing excessive cost and providing better care, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Nov.12 issued a "Call to Action" urging Congress to ensure meaningful coverage and care for all Americans.
The plan envisions investing in a health system that emphasizes quality, value and, over time, less costly care. There would be an increased emphasis on weeding out excess costs and wasteful spending.
Baucus did not place a price tag on his plan, saying he'd have more precise figures once legislation is drafted. But he did say that the upfront investment required in the first five years would yield "definite savings" over 10 years.
"Let me be clear about one thing, there is no way to really solve America's economic troubles without fixing the health care system," Baucus told reporters at a press briefing to unveil his plan. "If you fix Wall Street, you fix the housing crisis, you change taxes, you fix everything else, and you don't fix the health care system, then government spending will keep going up."
Much as President-elect Barack Obama has proposed, the Baucus plan relies on a mix of public and private solutions to ensure access to care. Unlike the President-elect, however, Baucus would require all Americans to have health coverage.
The Senator's plan would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program and extend Medicaid to every American living below poverty. It would establish a nationwide insurance pool called the "National Insurance Exchange" through which Americans seeking coverage could compare and purchase plans.
As a temporary fix until the exchange is in place, people aged 55 to 64 who lack health coverage through a public or group health plan could buy into Medicare.
Low-income Americans and small businesses would get help purchasing coverage in the form of tax credits. Large employers who don't provide coverage would have to pay into a fund to help cover the uninsured.
The Senator proposes several steps for strengthening the role of primary care, including fee schedule adjustments and bonus payments for delivering these services. He also calls for further testing and expansion of the "medical home" concept.
Recognizing that the Medicare's "sustainable growth rate" formula is "fatally flawed," Baucus would replace the current system with the goal of moving toward a system that refocuses payment incentives on the quality of care delivered.
In a letter dated Nov. 17, ACP President Dr. Jeffrey P. Harris commended Baucus for his leadership on health reform, particularly his strong support for primary care. "ACP is fully in agreement with the need for reforms that will boost access to this segment of the delivery system," Harris wrote.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Finance Committee, issued a statement in which he expressed support for health reform but urged the Congress to proceed with caution. "Dramatically expanding government spending and putting additional pressure on employers already struggling to create jobs would have repercussions that need to be carefully considered," he said.
Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health -- an organization representing health employers -- said large businesses are "very encouraged" that the plan seeks address the challenges of providing health coverage to workers, their families and retirees. "At a time of widespread economic anxiety, Chairman Baucus is to be commended for rightly recognizing that health care reform goes hand-in-hand with addressing our nation's broader economic problems," she said in a statement.
November 19, 2008
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Leadership Day, ACP's annual two-day advocacy event in Washington, enables members from across the country to bring ACP's issues to U.S. lawmakers. It's a great opportunity for ACP and its members to bring policy priorities to Congress and try to influence the legislative process on behalf of internal medicine. The registration deadline is May 1.
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Fri. Mar. 31, Examining the Rise in Prescription Drug Pricing and Costs (9:30am-10:30, Rm 1).
Sat. Apr. 1, 60 Minutes: Special Report on Hot Issues in Health Policy (9:30am-10:30, Rm 8), Climate Change: The Health Perspective (4:00pm-5:00, Rm 2).
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Thur. Mar. 30: Patients before Paperwork: What Can Be Done to Ease Administrative Burdens on Physicians and Their Patients? (8:15am-9:15, Rm 2), ACP's Dragon's Lair: Breathing Fire into Health Care Transformation (11:15am-12:45, Rm 14), Implementing Revenue-Positive and Time-Saving Adult Immunization in Your Practice (11:15 am-12:45, Rm 1), Hospital Inpatient Coding: Thinking inside the Box (2:15 pm-3:45, Rm 7), Opportunities for Subspecialists: Navigating Alternative Payment Models under MACRA (4:30pm-5:30, Rm 8),
Fri. Mar. 31: There Is No Place like Home: Why Patient-Centered Medical Homes and PCMH Specialty Practices Are Here to Stay (7:00am-8:00, Rm 7), Promise and Peril of Value-Based Payment: What Will You Be Measured On—and Will You Measure Up? (11:15am-12:45, Rm 8), More News You Can Use: Current Best Practice Advice (11:15 am-12:45, Rm 20A), MIPS Reporting: Managing the Health IT Challenges (11:15am-12:45, Rm 7), New Physician/Provider Boot Camp (11:15am-12:45, Rm 2), Outpatient Coding: Do It Right and Get Paid for What You Do (2:15pm-3:45, Rm 1), iPatient/Electronic Health Records (2:15pm-3:45, Rm 7), What May Change Your Practice Tomorrow: Hot Topics in Medical Informatics (4:30pm-5:30, Rm 2),
Sat. Apr. 1: C. Wesley Eisele Lecture: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Physicians in the Digital Age (8:15am-9:15, Rm 7), Team-Based Care: Interprofessional Practice Innovations in Primary Care (11:15am-12:45, Rm 1), Billing and Coding: What You Didn’t Learn in Residency, and Why It Matters (11:15am-12:45, Rm 8), MIPS or APM: Making the Most of Medicare Payment (11:15am-12:45, Rm 7).
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Thur. Mar. 30: Looking Toward 2020: New Care Delivery Models Enabled by Existing and Near Future Technology (11:15am-12:45, Rm 7),
Fri. Mar. 31: Beyond the Hype and into the Real World: Making Mobile Health (mHealth) Matter for Your Practice (8:15am-9:15, Rm. 7), MIPS Reporting: Managing the Health IT Challenges (11:15am-12:45, Rm 7), iPatient/Electronic Health Records (2:15pm-3:45, Rm 7), What May Change Your Practice Tomorrow: Hot Topics in Medical Informatics (4:30pm-5:30, Rm 2),
Sat. Apr. 1: C. Wesley Eisele Lecture: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Physicians in the Digital Age (8:15am-9:15, Rm 7), Blogging and Social Media in Health Care (8:15am-9:15, Rm 2), Telemedicine Use in Providing Quality Care (9:30am-10:30, Rm 7), What Physicians Really Need from EHRs to Be Successful in a Value-Based World (2:15pm-3:45, Rm 7), Wearables, Smartphones, Trackers—Oh My: The New Age of Patient Technologies (4:00pm-5:00, Rm 8).