Are you a Peter or a Paul?

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Of course we saw, or at least should have seen, some of this coming.  The healthcare reform bill now being voted on by the Senate would change Medicare physician reimbursements to include nationwide quality measurements, according to a release from the Minnesota Medical Association, who is in support of the quality measurements.  While the AMA opposes the Senate provision, the Minnesota Medical Association has campaigned for it, saying its members receive relatively low Medicare reimbursements even though they perform well on quality measurements.  The proposed Medicare value index, to begin in 2012, would incorporate quality measures into payment rates.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I believe in good, quality healthcare.  I also happen to believe the USA has the best, high quality healthcare on the planet.  I also believe when you have free choice patients are allowed to choose high quality healthcare.  I am somewhat concerned under the current proposal patients will be told where to receive healthcare, high quality or low quality will have little to do with the decision; however, low quality care won’t pay as much as high quality care.  I am a firm believer in that docking a physician’s pay will not make him a better doctor.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services would work to establish uniform definitions for quality that would form the basis for the index.  The proposal is budget neutral and would take into account justifiable differences in Medicare spending.  Hence the title of this blog.  Throughout this bill it reeks of robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Someone has to pay for all the changes that will take place.  A quote I read a while back; “A government policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul.”  So, there is the question of the day; are you a Peter or a Paul?

—Marty Hudson

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