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Happening now! Intermountain Healthcare’s Tom Lee, M.D., and Marc Harrison, M.D., share tips on leadership development during a New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst webinar.
Possible health care vote next week
Despite division within the party, Republican Senators are moving forward to release a new health care bill late this week and plan to vote next week. Reports indicate that it is unlikely the new bill will significantly change the CBO estimate that 22 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2026 compared to under the ACA. Many lawmakers are discussing alternatives to the bill. A bipartisan option under consideration would create a reinsurance fund and authorize cost-sharing payments for insurers.
Cruz amendment would increase premiums
Under Sen. Ted Cruz’s amendment to the Senate bill, premiums could rise for about 1.5 million people with pre-existing conditions. The Cruz amendment would allow insurers to sell plans that do not comply with ACA mandates, as long as they offer one option that does. Plans that meet ACA requirements would become a high-risk pool, as individuals with more costly health needs—including those with pre-existing conditions—will enroll in these plans. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, plans that are ACA compliant would see skyrocketing premiums.
Congress can pass health care reform by dropping Medicaid reform
Two former Medicare and Medicaid chiefs from both parties are encouraging Congress to drop Medicaid reform from current reform efforts. Andy Slavitt and Gail Wilensky argue controversy around proposed changes to Medicaid are holding up efforts to pass important reforms to stabilize the market.
Physicians not ready for the Quality Payment Program
Most physicians are unprepared for the Quality Payment Program, according to an AMA/KPMG survey of 1,000 physicians. Less than 60 percent of respondents were at least “somewhat knowledgeable” about MACRA and the Quality Payment Program. The report states even those who feel prepared don’t fully understand the financial ramifications of the program.
Surgical “double-booking” emerges in public debate
The medical community is debating the practice of “double-booking”, when a doctor performs concurrent surgeries and delegates non-critical portions of the operations to residents or fellows. Critics say the practice adds unnecessary risk and is primarily used to enrich surgeons, while defenders say it can be done safely and allows more patients to receive care.
ONC focuses on interoperability
A key focus for the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology is improved interoperability, which allows patients and providers easier access to electronic health records. Donald Rucker, MD, coordinator for Health IT, notes the Cures Act directs ONC to develop and implement a more expansive definition of interoperability. Some experts believe a National Patient Identifier system is the lynchpin to achieving this goal.