Tuesday, February 03, 2009

American College of Physicians recommends against fighting with specialists over Medicare money

I have been a bit critical of some of ACP's positions and proposals but this time I agree. See here for a news item on their stance on food fighting and a rather long series of comments.

For a tactical point of view, ACP may have weight and influence disadvantages with professional associations of surgeons and some other specialists and might loose anyway. Sometimes proponents of taking money away from the "procedurists" to give to the primary care physicians actually say the procedure docs make "too much money" and their income should be limited. The wage and price controls imposed by CMS in 1990 has caused many problems for health care not the least of which is a shortage of primary care physicians.Extend that process and target specialists and we will likely see shortages for non primary care docs as well. For that matter, would we have physician groups going to Washington and begging for more money if there were not wage and price controls in Medicare?

Yes, it is true that the procedure docs have fared less badly as CMS has turned the cost control screws and the procedure doc dominated RUC has played no small role in that but to argue that they haven't been screwed enough and to limit their income will push things along so that everybody's ship will sink.

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