Short Takes On News & Events

Rx For Docs: AMA Answers Obamacare Questions

By Mary Agnes Carey

September 11th, 2013, 8:54 AM

As we get closer to 2014, consumers are being surrounded by news coverage, ads and opinions about the health law. And many of them are turning to their doctors for advice. The American Medical Association wants to help doctors with answers.

Today, the AMA is launching a new website  to help answer frequently asked questions that physicians might hear from patients, such as “Why should I care about the health reform law?” (the answer notes that as of Jan. 1, most people will have to have insurance or pay a penalty) and  “Can I keep my own doctor?” (answer: “That depends on the plan you choose and whether your physician is in the plan’s network”).

The website also aims to explain the law’s online marketplaces, or exchanges, which open for enrollment Oct. 1 with coverage beginning on Jan. 1.

The AMA guidance frequently links back to healthcare.gov, the official federal government website for the health care law. But it also makes clear to members that the organization doesn’t agree with everything in the Affordable Care Act, or the ACA.

The group is pressing for elimination of the law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member advisory panel created to make recommendations to Congress on how to control Medicare expenditures if spending goes beyond a certain target. Republicans — and some Democrats — have denounced the concept, saying it would ration care and would eclipse congressional authority over Medicare. Backers have countered that the IPAB is needed to hold down Medicare spending and that Congress does have the authority to stop the panel’s recommendations from taking effect if it chooses. Regardless, in 2011, the Congressional Budget Office said that Medicare spending is below the threshold that requires action.

Meanwhile, the AMA is pushing for Congress to act this year on something not included in the ACA:  a full repeal of sustainable growth rate, a Medicare payment formula that calls for a 25 percent cut in Medicare physician payments Jan. 1 unless Congress intervenes.

5 Responses to “Rx For Docs: AMA Answers Obamacare Questions”

  1. Sam says:

    “Today, the AMA is launching a new website to help answer frequently asked questions that physicians might hear from patients, such as “Why should I care about the health reform law?” (the answer notes that as of Jan. 1, most people will have to have insurance or pay a penalty) and ”Can I keep my own doctor?” (answer: “That depends on the plan you choose and whether your physician is in the plan’s network”).”

    Sounds like a pretty good plan except patients will want to hear truthful and unbiased answers to their questions. Doctors that I’ve talked to are all over the map with the answers they provide about the Affordable Care Act. Not surprisingly, most if the answers doctors give me seem to always follow their political persuasion. If doctors are going to spin the truth, as is my experience, they will continue to lose what little credibility they have left. Sad! Very sad!

  2. Sam says:

    Why just doctors? Why not nurse practitioners? Why not physician’s assistants? Why is it only about doctors? We need more NP’s and PA’s doing primary care. Ask any primary care doctor and, if they are honest, they will admit that an NP or a PA can do 85 percent of their work. If primary care doctors are honest, they will admit that they refer the more serious cases to a specialist. Next time you go to your primary care doctor, ask him/her to be honest and admit that they aren’t as necessary as they think they are. Ask them to admit that an NP or a PA could do most of what they do. Chances are, they will lie!

  3. Sally says:

    That’s what is wrong with our health delivery system now! PA and NP’s are poorly trained or just are not suited for their work. I’ve been misdiagnosed and poorly treated in the past by these “practitioners”. Now unless it’s really minor I insist on seeing my doctor. We act like we are in the dark ages about how to have a really accessable system for all! Why doesn’t our congress or president send a rep to find out how France and Denmark administer their fabulous health care systems? Education for our youth should be FREE too! We are so behind in what really matters!

  4. Carol says:

    After reviewing Medicare & other insurance options, I have concluded that:
    1. Insurance companies have driven up healthcare costs.
    2. Insurance companies have a secret set of allowable amounts that are paid to Drs. The actual amount that they reimburse the providers is not disclosed until after you take the ins and get an EOB. (If then). So when choosing insurance, 80% coverage is of the allowable amount.. what % of the fee does the provider actually get?
    3. Finally, it appears that insurance is a total scam and Obama Care just makes it a more complex, creative scam.

  5. Kelly says:

    Want the truth? Want to get the best deal? Stay away from the private insurance brokers. Go here for the best advice…

    https://www.healthcare.gov/

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