Legislation Proposed to Authorize Private Contracting in Medicare

The inadequacy of the Medicare fee schedule to cover physician overhead and other patient care costs has long been recognized by the NCMS and the AMA. As a partial solution to this problem, the NCMS has pushed aggressively for a private contracting option for physicians and their Medicare patients, identifying it as a major priority during the national debate on health system reform.

Starting this week, the AMA is launching a grassroots initiative to generate public support for Congressional passage of H.R. 1700 and S. 1042, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), respectively.  This legislation, based on policy developed by the AMA House of Delegates, will create a new Medicare option to allow patients and physicians to enter into private contract arrangements without penalties for either party.  The focus of this grassroots initiative is on securing House and Senate cosponsors for this important legislation, and we are asking for assistance from individual physicians.

The AMA has developed a range of resource material to support this work, including:

  • An educational slide deck, with script, for physician audiences that can be personalized by the presenter.
  • A physician-focused Frequently-Asked-Questions document.
  • An educational slide deck, with script, for patient audiences that can be personalized by the presenter.
  • A patient-focused Frequently-Asked-Questions document.
  • A short educational video for patients.
  • A downloadable patient flyer for physician offices.
  • A web-based petition for patients and physicians, which provides access to educational material and enables patients to send email directly to their legislators.  This can be accessed through a dedicated micro site at http://www.mymedicare-mychoice.org/.

The resource material is available through the AMA web site at www.ama-assn.org/go/privatecontracting.


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