Blue Dog Democrats Raise Concerns for Healthcare Reform

Blue dogThe Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative House democrats, has submitted a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer outlining a number of concerns about the Tri-Committee draft health reform bill.  American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) strongly supports the Blue Dog Coalition’s concerns about a public plan option based on Medicare payment rates.

ASA President Roger A. Moore, M.D., has released the following statement in response to the Blue Dog Coalition’s letter: “On behalf of ASA’s 43,000 physician members, I applaud the Blue Dog Coalition members and leadership for opposing a public plan option based on Medicare rates, and for recognizing that a Medicare-like public option would negatively impact doctors and patients.  Further, I am pleased that the Coalition maintains that physicians and other health care providers should be able to voluntarily participate in the program, rather than being mandated by Congress.

“We are working together on one of the most comprehensive health care reform efforts this government has ever undertaken.  We commend the “Tri-Committee” members and staff for their efforts toward meaningful and effective delivery reform.  However, we believe that as part of responsible reform, we must ensure that a public plan option fairly compensate physicians for their services.  As it stands, Medicare pays anesthesiologists 33 percent of what private insurers pay—a rate that simply does not cover the costs of providing anesthesiology medical care.  An expansion of this inadequate payment system as proposed by the “Tri-Committee” would not be sustainable for private practice and academic anesthesiologists.

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