News & Information
Insuring High Drug Prices
Written by Editor   
Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:00 AM

In the U.S., rising prescription drug prices are the law.  The FDA approves drugs on the basis of efficacy and safety, but is not allowed -- by law -- to consider price, which in any case is not usually set until after the regulatory OK.

On the other hand, once a drug is approved the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must cover it, but is not allowed to negotiate lower prices.  "That's very strange.  Where else in a free market society do you see the largest customer unable to negotiate for a better price?"

Those two factors combine to skew the market so that prices rise inexorably.

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MedPAC Wants Congress to Extend Bonus Pay to Primary Care
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:00 AM

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) wants Congress to continue bonus payments to primary care physicians, now set to expire in 2015.  

MedPAC recommends changing the current 10% bonus payment for primary care services now paid as an add-on to claims into a per beneficiary payment that could be paid monthly or annually.

"The current fee for service (FFS) approach encourages volume. A per beneficiary approach could help encourage care coordination," the report said.  Because Medicare undervalues primary care services, average compensation for specialists can be more than double what primary care practitioners earn.

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AMA Policies Adopted
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:00 AM

At the AMA 2014 Annual Meeting delegate approved two new policies.  One would support telemedicine provided it is covered by medical liability insurance.  The other strongly objects allowing new physicians who have not be "matched" to a residency program to practice as an assistant to another physician.  Their concern was that it would "counter the efforts being made to curtail the expansion of the scope of practice of non physicians."

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Burwell Sworn as HHS Secretary
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 08:08 AM

This week began with the swearing-in of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Burwell, who formerly headed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was sworn in on Monday after being confirmed by the Senate last week. She replaced Kathleen Sebelius, who tendered her resignation in April.  

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ACA Presses HHS to Aggressively Enforce Provider Non-Discrimination Law
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 08:02 AM

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), in comments submitted today to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), strongly defends provider non-discrimination language included in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as essential to quality patient care and genuine reform. ACA maintains that Congress' intent is clear in this matter and that states and insurers should be pressed to adhere to the law as written, which will improve patient access to quality care and reduce costs.

The comments submitted by ACA are part of the profession's on-going campaign to ensure the proper enforcement and aggressive implementation of that part of the health reform law aimed at curbing discriminatory abuses against the chiropractic profession and other non-MD health care professionals-and they complement a series targeted lobbying and grassroots activities that seeks a robust non-discrimination requirement enforceable in all 50 states.

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