Bill Aims to Reshape Medical Pricing

A bipartisan group of legislators has drafted a bill that would reshape the way the nation pays doctors, responding to criticism that the nation's method of valuing medical procedures misprices payments.

A bipartisan group of legislators has drafted a bill that would reshape the way the nation pays doctors, responding to criticism that the nation’s method of valuing medical procedures misprices payments.

The pricing system, used by Medicare and most private insurers, depends upon assessments made by the American Medical Association, the chief lobbying group for physicians. In confidential meetings held every year, the AMA assigns values to thousands of services doctors provide.

But some of those values are based on exaggerated assumptions for how long a procedure takes and helps unnecessarily raise the doctors’ fees for those services, a Washington Post investigation found. The Post reported its findings this past weekend.

The values are based “on a one-sided negotiation — doctors negotiating with themselves,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), a critic of the process who has introduced a separate bill on the issue. “There’s a lot of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

Read the full story here: http://wapo.st/1beqoyj

Source: Washington Post