Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saving America’s and Physicians’ Fiscal Problems

If you are not aware of Donald Palmisano’s blog, you should be. Doctor Donald Palmisano, MD, lawyer, surgeon, and former editor of the AMA, is full of pithy wisdom and informed topical commentary.

In his May 31 blog, he calls attention to a May 25, 2011, 28 page report, “Fiscal Solutions: A Balanced Plan for Fiscal Stability.” By Joseph Antos, Andrew Biggs, and Alan Vaard. The Plan was developed as part of the Solutions Initiative funded by the Peter J. Peterson Foundation in conjunction with the American Enterprise Institute, Bipartisan Policy Center, and Center for American Progress, Economic Policy Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, each of which received grants to participate.

On page 8 of the report, which calls for repeal of the Accountable Care Act (aka ObamaCare), the authors have this to say,

“Our report stabilizes physician payment rates and allows them to increase with general inflation. To introduce an element of market pricing, restrictions on “balanced billing” would be lifted. Physicians would be allowed to charge any amount over the Medicare payment for their services (subject to their ability to command higher prices in the market) as long as they disclose their prices in advance. In addition, restrictions on physician’s ability to provide services to Medicare beneficiaries outside of the program (referred to “private contracting’) would be lifted.”

The authors conclude:

“There are no easy solutions to the country’s financial crisis; and further delay will only make the decisions harder. An aging population will increase demands on government health and retirement programs, whose costs will be borne by younger generations worried about paying for their families needs.”

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