May 14, 2009
ASA President Roger Moore, M.D. Meets with U.S. Senators to Discuss Health System Reform
Today, ASA President Roger Moore, M.D., visited Capitol Hill to offer testimony on central issues to the ongoing health care reform debate. In his discussion with eight Senators on invitation from the Republican Policy Committee, Dr. Moore conveyed ASA’s consistent concerns about the physician reimbursement elements of a “public plan option” – a potential new government plan to compete with commercial insurance, possibly built upon Medicare payment levels. The public plan is among a series of loosely defined reform options under consideration in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
In his meeting, Dr. Moore stated that ASA remains open to a wide range of options for health reform but stressed that any new public health insurance plan cannot be an expansion of Medicare. Moore explained that the United States already has a public plan – Medicare, which has long underfunded payments for anesthesia services, and that an expansion of such a flawed funding mechanism to a larger segment of the population would be unsustainable for the specialty. Moore presented data from a 2007 study about anesthesia payment rates released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – a government investigatory agency - highlighting the significant payment disparity that exists between Medicare payments and commercial insurance payments.
“While Congress has not yet made a decision on this issue, I am acutely aware from my meetings on Capitol Hill that there is strong support among some House and Senate members for a ‘public plan option.’ Should Congress decide that the reform package will include such a public option, it is critical that the option not be based upon Medicare payment levels,” Moore said.
Dr. Moore also spoke with the Senators about meaningful physician antitrust reforms as a means of balancing the playing field with the increasingly consolidated health plan industry.