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Internal medicine physician specialists release policy paper on reforming Medicaid
Date:4/20/2012

(New Orleans) A dozen recommendations to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to high-quality, coordinated care were provided today by the American College of Physicians (ACP). The new policy paper, Reforming Medicare in the Age of Deficit Reduction, was released at Internal Medicine 2012, ACP's annual scientific meeting.

"This position paper considers the potential advantages and disadvantages of proposals to reform Medicare in an attempt to quell rising Medicare/health care costs. Options such as transforming Medicare into a premium support program, increasing the Medicare eligibility age, and applying income-based Medicare premiums are discussed." Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, MACP, president of ACP said "We have long supported efforts to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to affordable, high quality, coordinated care, so want to have evidence that a revised system would meet these criteria."

The Medicare program is a defined benefit, where enrollees receive guaranteed financial contributions for a package of health benefits. Some proposals to reform the Medicare system would transform the Medicare program to a defined contribution (or premium support) program, where beneficiaries would receive a finite amount of financial assistance to purchase health insurance.

"Too little is known today about the impact of a Medicare premium support on patient access to care for a risky decision to be made to transition away from the current guaranteed benefit structure," cautioned Dr. Hood. "Rather than rushing a decision, we propose testing a premium support program on demonstration project basis, with strong protections to ensure that costs are not shifted to enrollees to the extent that it hinders their access to care. Until we have reassuring data from pilots, ACP can't support adoption of this model, just as physicians would not recommend a new treatment to our patients without data from clinical trials on p
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Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser
jblaser@acponline.org
202-261-4572
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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