SEP 2013

EyeWorld is the official news magazine of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

Issue link: https://digital.eyeworld.org/i/176967

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 98

September 2013 surgeons, the primary issues concern being reimbursed for our work caring for Medicare patients. In addition to declining reimbursements, we face the huge problem of the looming SGR cut. We all agree on urging the repeal of this 25% cut, which grows greater every year that it is not repealed. Whether the SGR cut takes place, is patched for another year, or is repealed, we cataract surgeons will still face the threat of decreasing reimbursements under Medicare. We recognize that it is extremely unlikely that Congress will raise or reallocate more money to the Medicare program. So in an attempt to find another way to raise revenue, the Alliance has urged Congress to consider allowing patients to contribute to the cost of their own care. Under current law, the physician who decides to "opt out" of accepting only what Medicare allows for a particular service must opt out of Medicare 100% for a total of two years. In a similarly punitive fashion, the patient who decides to privately contract with a physician for a particular service must pay 100% of the cost charged for that service, even though Medicare would otherwise pay some portion of that bill. This makes no sense to physicians or patients. To address this problem, Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a bill called the "Medicare Patient Empowerment Act" (H.R. 1310 and S. 236). This eminently sensible bill would allow physicians to privately contract with patients on a case-bycase basis. They would not have to completely opt out of Medicare for two years. The benefit to Medicare patients is that they would still receive whatever amount was paid for that service by Medicare and would only be responsible for the additional amount "out of pocket" they had contracted to pay the doctor. We see this as a "win-win-win" for physicians, patients, and the Medicare budget. Dr. Price came to the Alliance meeting to personally inform us about the nature of his bill, as well as the state of other medical issues in Congress. As an orthopedic sur- geon, he is incredibly knowledgeable and gave a rousing presentation. We ASCRS-Alliance members urged cosponsorship of the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act to every legisla- tive assistant and congressman we met with during our Hill visits. We need you to contact your senators and representatives to urge adoption EW NEWS & OPINION 23 of these kinds of principles so that physicians will have an incentive to not stop caring for Medicare patients. continued on page 25

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Eyeworld - SEP 2013