In a March 10 letter to members, the North Carolina Medical Society reports asking North Carolina Congressional Delegation to consider several areas of concern with national health system reform. In a March 8, 2010 letter, the Delegation was asked to consider the following priorities:
- A permanent repeal of Medicare’s flawed physician payment formula
- Meaningful liability reform
- Physicians and patients having the right to privately contract without penalties
- Increased provider reimbursement to offset Medicaid expansion
- Medicare bonus payments for primary care and the expansion of primary care residency positions
- Elimination of penalties for physicians who do not successfully participate in the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI)
- Elimination of the proposed Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
- Safeguards on Accountable Care Organizations and payment-bundling pilot programs
- Limit barriers to new physician-owned hospitals
Everyone agrees that there is too much being spent on health care and that we need to control the growth in cost. Where among these priorities are cost reduction measures? None of these priorities seems to address that central issue. Arguably liability reform might help, but not directly. Some of these priorities clearly increase the cost. Come on, let’s step up with a plan to help reign in the cost of health care. We spend more per capita, lots more, than so many other countries, yet we still have so many uncovered people. These “priorities” may be important, but if we want to lead, we need to do it with a plan that won’t add to the cost of health care.
If we doctors don’t come up with such a plan, someone else is going to do it for us.