MedPAC Proposes Fixing the SGR

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October 07, 2011
In this issue
» ACP Voices Objections to MedPAC Plan to Change Physician Pay System

» ACP Updates Internist's Guide to Affordable Care Act

» Young Adults Becoming More Common on Health Insurance Rolls

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate 

Our first story this week gives you the details on the MedPAC proposal that I mentioned briefly in my letter last issue.  In MedPAC's proposal, the SGR problem would be permanently fixed by freezing Medicare's annual update for selected services by primary care physicians for the next ten years and cutting all other physician services by nearly 17%, followed by a freeze.  ACP has told MedPAC that although it recognizes that MedPAC's intent was to bring about SGR repeal while protecting primary care from cuts, the proposal would not ensure access to primary care because the updates would not keep pace with costs, and create severe access problems to many other specialties facing shortages, including many internal medicine subspecialists.  Check out the article for more information. 

Our second story lets you know about an updated resource that you might be interested in.  The Internist’s Guide to Health System Reform was first released directly following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  We’ve updated it to include new information about newly-written regulations and we’ve also moved to a more reader-friendly format.  I encourage you to read both the article and the updated Guide.
And, finally, our last story looks at recent studies that show that rates of health insurance are rising among young people in this country.  I’m hopeful that this will be one of the first of many improvements we’ll see as the result of the health care reform law.
For more coverage of what's happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians    

In the news
» ACP Voices Objections to MedPAC Plan to Change Physician Pay System
  Proposal would have adverse effect on access to care, College asserts in letter to commission

Though repealing the Medicare physician payment formula remains a priority, a plan put forth by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to do so is unsupportable because it doesn't protect access to primary and subspecialty care, the American College of P... » Click to read the full article

» ACP Updates Internist's Guide to Affordable Care Act
  Revisions offer physicians a means to keep up with changes in the law

Though the Affordable Care Act was signed into law a little more than 18 months ago, the landscape of health care reform remains ever-changing. Many provisions of the law are phased in over a number of years, and government agencies continuously tweak thei... » Click to read the full article

» Young Adults Becoming More Common on Health Insurance Rolls
  Surveys credit Affordable Care Act with expanding coverage

Nearly a million young adults have gained health insurance coverage in the past year, according to a new government survey that attributes the increase to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows children to remain on their parents' insurance pla... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Only One Week Left to Apply to be an ACP Health Policy Intern
The internship is open to associate and medical student members. This Internship represents a unique opportunity for one Associate and one Medical Student Member to develop legislative knowledge and advocacy skills by working directly with the College’s Washington, D.C., staff and participating in ACP’s 2012 annual Leadership Day. The deadline for applications is October 14.

Are you on Twitter?
If so, we encourage you to follow the College’s Twitter feed, @ACPInternists. There you’ll find College news, as well as occasional information on advocacy. For complete advocacy coverage on Twitter also follow Bob Doherty at @BobDohertyACP. Additionally, Twitter gives you the opportunity to follow your Member of Congress. Over 250 Members are now on Twitter. A list of Twitter usernames is available from CSPAN.

Version 5010 Deadline Looms
The Jan. 1 deadline to comply with Version 5010 electronic administrative transactions is only 115 days away. On Jan. 1 all health insurers, not just Medicare and Medicaid, will only accept electronic transactions that use the Version 5010 standards. Practices that do not successfully transition to Version 5010 will find that their claims cannot be processed – and therefore, cannot be paid. Practices need to work with the vendors, clearinghouses, and payers of their practice management systems and electronic health record to begin testing for Version 5010 compliance. Visit the CMS website at the link above for a checklist of how to get ready.

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