April 11, 2019
Senate Medicare for All Legislation Introduced
Yesterday, April 10, 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced new “Medicare for All” legislation which aims to transform the public-private pluralistic health care system into a government-run single-payer health program. The plan would decrease the age at which one is eligible for Medicare, effectively eliminate employer-provided coverage and other programs like Medicaid without providing a price tag or a detailed plan for payment of increased costs.
ASA physician leaders previously met with leaders of the Medicare for All movement to discuss the plans lack of a sustainable payment model for anesthesiology practitioners. Medicare payments for services of physician anesthesiologists have long been plagued by inequality and instability. The Medicare “33% problem” has been a persistent challenge by paying anesthesia services at only 33% of private pay rates, the lowest rate among all health professionals, while Medicare payments for other physician services are approximately 75% of commercial pay rates.
The Medicare for All proposal faces steep opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate and White House and will not advance this year.
Members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Executive Committee (EC) and ASA Advocacy staff continue to meet with key Committees and House and Senate leadership staff to discuss concerns with this proposal.