June 25, 2009
Urge Your Representative to Oppose a Medicare-Based Public Plan
We can be proud that over the past two weeks ASA members have made more than 10,000 contacts to Senators
and have shared with them ASA's consistent health care reform message:
- Any public plan option must not be based on Medicare
- Physicians should be allowed to voluntarily participate
ASA has been a leader in the medical community coming out against any public plan based on Medicare payment rates. Though we have taken this message to the Senate and have been heard, it is now time we turn our attention to the U.S. House of Representatives
, where committees last week released comprehensive draft health reform legislation. I'm calling on you NOW to send our message to your House Representatives. With four times as many Members in the House than in the Senate, we should generate four times as many contacts-that's 40,000 messages!
As I informed you last Friday, three key health care committees in the House-Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor, or the "Tri-Committee"-have released their version of health care reform legislation
. We appreciate the Committees' commitment to ensuring that patients have access to affordable health insurance, as well as high-quality medical care.
However there are a number of key portions of their 851 page bill that that would negatively impact our specialty. Our primary concern is that the draft bill proposes a government-run public plan option based on Medicare's unacceptably low rates for anesthesia care and pain medicine.
As a reminder, Medicare pays 33 percent of what private insurers pay for anesthesia services (according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office - GAO-07-463) and significantly discounts payments for pain services. An extension of the Medicare payment system-even short-term-would be extremely detrimental to our specialty.
As ASA has consistently stated, we remain open to a wide range of options for health reform. However, any public plan option considered by Congress must NOT be based on Medicare's unacceptably low payments. Further, physicians should be able to voluntarily participate should a public plan be established.
Please contact your U.S. Representative today:
Your ASA Washington Office staff is available to answer questions or provide additional information. You can reach the office at (202) 289-2222.
For more information, please bookmark ASA's Health Care Reform
webpage and check for frequent updates.
Roger A. Moore