Thursday, April 28, 2011

The semi-secret RUC is getting less and less secret

The RUC (more formerly known as the AMA/Specialty Relative Value Update Committee) up until recently has been an obscure creature of the AMA about which little was known and even less was written about. Thanks to a number of physicians,including Dr. Roy Poses, more and more information of the composition of that group is being revealed. See here for Dr. Poses's latest revelations about the current members of the RUC and and some of their relationships which might represent conflicts of interest.

Not only are we treated to looking behind the curtains but there is an organized effort to opt out of the RUC influence. See here for information about the "Replace the RUC" effort.

Dr Poses raises several of the unanswered questions regarding the RUC. The one that interested me for some time is this. Why was there and is there so little outcry about the central governmental management of physician's fees, i.e. price controls.? (If there is anything Keynesians and non-Keynesians agree on it is that price controls lead to shortages and decreased quality) Could part of it be that the AMA whose brainchild we are talking about kept the whole process obscure and largely behind the scenes?

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