ASCRS supports a patient's right to obtain medical services from the physician of his or her choice by adopting additional Medicare payment options in conjunction with a new payment system. Under the current system, physicians must opt-out of Medicare for two years if they enter into a private contract with a patient. However, MACRA, the SGR repeal bill, now gives physicians the ability to automatically renew their opt-out status every two years.
ASCRS strongly supports H.R. 1650, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA). This legislation currently has 29 co-sponsors. The Senate version of the legislation, S. 1849, was reintroduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and has four co-sponsors, including three physicians: Sens. Rand Paul, MD (R-K), John Barrasso, MD (R-WY), Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) and James Inhofe (R-OK).
ASCRS has supported similar legislation in previous Congresses.
This legislation would allow physicians and patients to contract freely on a case-by-case basis, without penalty, for Medicare services. Medicare beneficiaries will still be able to use their benefits, and physicians would not be forced to opt out of Medicare for two years. In addition, it would provide patients with more choices of physicians, increase the number of physicians who will continue to accept Medicare patients, and help preserve the Medicare program.
ASCRS and the medical community will work to build support for H.R. 1650 and S. 1849.
ASCRS Letter in Support of H.R 1650 The Medicare Patient Empowerment Act
H.R. 1650 the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act