September 25, 2009
House Reconsidering Public Plan Tied to Medicare
ASA has learned that the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to move forward soon with consideration of a revised version of H.R. 3200, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” – a bill that may include a public plan option tied to unreasonably low Medicare payment rates. ALL ASA members are urged to CALL their Representative IMMEDIATELY today or Monday. Click here to access your Representative’s phone number and talking points
The Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives is working behind closed doors today and is expected to work into next week to prepare a final version of H.R. 3200. Drafting of the legislation is expected to be completed by early next week with consideration of H.R. 3200 by the full House of Representatives possible as soon as the week of October 5.
Among the key issues under discussion in the closed door meetings is the fate of the public plan option – a new government sponsored plan to be offered as an option to consumers. This issue has been hotly contested among House members. Previously, it appeared that the moderate to conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition had prevailed in the House with its version of a public option that permitted physicians and other providers to negotiate payment levels. In fact, the Blue Dog version of the public option was included as a part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s version of H.R. 3200. ASA strongly supported the Blue Dog effort.
However, most recently it appears that as a result of a strong push from members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the public plan tied to Medicare payment rates has gained enough support among the House Democratic leadership to be included in the final version of H.R. 3200.
It is extremely disappointing that the House would consider reverting to a Medicare rate-based plan that would adversely affect physicians and their patients. The use of unreasonably low Medicare payment levels in any public, private or co-op plan is completely unacceptable to the ASA.
Please call your member of Congress immediately and urge him or her to support a public plan that allows for negotiated payment rates.