April 29, 2019
ASA Expresses Concern About ‘Medicare For All’ As Hearing is Announced
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) continues to have serious concerns with the proposed “Medicare for All” legislation, which will be the subject of a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Rules on Tuesday. The proposal would eliminate all private insurance and create a two-year transformation of Medicare into a nationwide, single-payer system, eliminating the age threshold for Medicare eligibility.
“A system utilizing Medicare payment rates would be devastating to our practices,” said ASA President Linda J. Mason, M.D., FASA. “Medicare payments for anesthesia have been inadequate and deeply flawed for many years, a situation specific to anesthesiology. Under Medicare, anesthesia services are only paid 33% of private insurance payment rates, the lowest rate among all health care services. On average other services are paid at 75% of private payment rates. This is a persistent challenge our specialty faces, and the Medicare for All legislation would significantly exacerbate this issue. We will continue to advocate for fair payment for anesthesia services while ensuring patient access to high-quality care.”
Earlier this year, ASA leadership met with key committees and House and Senate leadership staff to discuss the Medicare for All proposal. The meetings included extensive discussions with staff of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus – the driving force behind Medicare for All – regarding the proposal’s reliance on Medicare payment rates and ASA’s concerns.
ASA will continue to be active in any discussions regarding proposals to improve access to health care services in our country and will advance proposals that continue to protect and advance the specialty and build on its longstanding record of patient safety.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 53,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.