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California Medical Assn. to oppose healthcare bill under debate in Senate

The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas.

REID The group’s executive committee met last week to discuss the Senate legislation proposed by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Nov. 18, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Association leaders plan to issue a news release detailing their opposition later today, spokesman Andrew LaMar told The Times.

They join a handful of other state medical associations that have opposed the bill in recent weeks, including Florida, Georgia and Texas.

“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee.

Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.

Medicare reimbursements would decrease 40% in coming years under the Senate bill, LaMar said. California doctors already contend with some of the lowest MediCal reimbursement rates in the nation, and although those rates would not change under the Senate bill, the pool of people eligible for coverage would increase. Only about a third of California doctors currently accept MediCal, and GnanaDev said that would likely grow under the Senate plan.

“If the doctors can’t see you, the only choice you have is the emergency room, which is a very bad way to get healthcare,” he said.

Healthcare legislation passed by the House would raise Medicare reimbursement rates on what LaMar said the association considers “a much more reasonable scale.”

“The House has made a real effort to try to address the issue,” LaMar said. “We feel they’re much more on the right track.”

However, the association has not endorsed the House bill, which was backed by doctors last month at the national convention of the American Medical Assn. in Houston. The AMA has not taken a position on the Senate bill, although it also oppose provisions that would lower Medicare reimbursement rates.

“The Senate bill includes provisions that we support and some provisions that we oppose. The AMA is working to have the Senate fix the Medicare physician payment formula once and for all, modify the proposed Medicare Advisory Board and prevent an ill-advised redistribution of Medicare payments based on flawed data,” said Dr. Rebecca J. Patchin, chair of the AMA. “Given the potential for multiple amendments, the AMA is reserving judgment on final passage of the Senate bill until later in the Senate floor debate.”

CMA officials have made their position clear to California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, LaMar said, and have been told the senators are conveying their concerns to congressional leaders. Boxer supports the bill; Feinstein has not yet taken a position.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Majority Leader Harry Reid announces the Senate healthcare proposal on Nov. 18. Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

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Comments () | Archives (31)

Every since Blue Cross began to move to become a for profit corporation, doctors have not caught on to the statistical tricks that the health insurance industry has played. This was the beginning of doctor income becoming less.
Once while attending a medical association meeting, I heard the president complain that there were plans afoot to allow podiatrist to work up to the knee, nurses to give shots, pharmacist to do some prescribing and more. He then says, "What are they gong to leave us."
Some simple things are to reduce the statistical pool. For example move the rating pool from the state population to a county and then to a zip code. Or move the insureds from groups to individual policies which allows the claims to be reduced from 85% of the premium to 65%. They even pretend some groups are covered by a group policy, but, are really covered by individual policies.

Medicare reimbursements would decrease 40% in coming years under the Senate bill, LaMar said.

Translation: Doctors won't be able to screw Medicare like they had been, and it follows that they oppose the bill.

There are 47 plus million Americans that are under insured or have no health insurance; plus 7 to 8 million about to lose Federal support for their cobra payments. Where were all of you antagonists and medical associations during the previous administrations, knowing full well that affordable health care has been an every increasing problem in American for years? Now that it is being worked on by the Congress, here comes all of this opposition. The only group that's putting forward proposals was the Democrats. All you antagonists are just opposing and not offering any solutions. It's a real shame, it's a black mark on America and a moral disgrace to have this many citizens without health coverage. Why doesn't the so-called God loving church community, being "Prolife," speak about this type of gross immorality? They sure have a lot to say about gay people, but nothing to say about this? Our country is doomed!

The insurance companies are involved in all the money of the doctors,RX companines. They are in rule as kings in many other related industries. Don't be fooled by Medicare. Medicare has a enormious amount of fraud and waste. Most of the doctors know this.

Know what will happen when Corbra runs out of money. How many people will go bankrupt> Just think about the people for once. Mayby we should take away the insurance of the Senate & Congress and watch to see what they would do without Healthcare for their families.

If congress was working to get your paycheck reduced by 40%, you'd be mad too.

I also strongly oppose the proposed health bill. The basic facts are I'm way over taxed right now and I don't want to pay for this huge bill that would not help anyone except the poor and the politicians. The country is beyond broke, the stimulus bill is only getting us deeper in dept, and now another 1 trillion dollar bill is being pushed down the taxpayers' throats. How great can this really be when the same congressmen who want you have and pay for it are specifically exempting themselves from the requirements of this bill. Please folks, wake up, who is going to pay for this? Most of the folks who really want this bill are the not the ones who are going to get stuck paying for it. If you really want to help the poor, then let me ask how are you doing that right now? It's not that I'm so cold hearted, I'm just broke and trying to support my family. And I'm tired of seeing the poor, and the illegal's, and the do nothings get all the tax breaks while the working guy has to foot the bill for his family and also for the others.

I also strongly oppose the proposed health bill. I'm way over taxed right now and I don't want to pay for this huge bill that would not help anyone except the poor and the politicians. The country is beyond broke, the stimulus bill is only getting us deeper in dept, and now another 1 trillion dollar bill is being pushed down the taxpayers' throats. Please folks, wake up, who is going to pay for this? Most of the folks who really want this bill are the not the ones who are going to get stuck paying for it. How great can this really be when the same congressmen who want to force you to have and pay for it are the same congressmen who are specifically exempting themselves from the requirements of this bill. If you really want to help the poor, then let me ask how are you doing that right now? It's not that I'm so cold hearted, I'm just broke and trying to support my family. And I'm tired of seeing the poor, and the do nothings get all the tax breaks while the working guy has to foot the bill for his family and also for the others.

I am a retired Canadian living in a place called Baysville, Ontario, Canada. You might call me "Wayne the Plumber". I am totally amazed that you guys are not insisting on Universal Government Funded Healthcare for your citizens.
Here in Canada NO ONE is refused medical treatment when needed, you cannot be refused, period.
Just to clarify some of the exagerations being put forth by your spin doctors and insurance corporations:
- Canadian healthcare is not rationed
- Wait times as reported by your media are extremly exagerated and do not exist
- Everyone has access to a doctor, if not through your personal physician then through a health clinic.
- There are no long waits for CAT scans or MRI"S
- We also have Telehealth where you can phone for any medical related question.
- There is no personal cost (we pay through our taxes)

Give you some examples, my wife broke her wrist, we went emergency at our local hospital, within four hours she had been triaged, x-rayed, seen by a doctor who set and casted her wrist, within 48 hours she had been refered to a fracture clinic in another city, x-rayed, Seen by a doctor, operated on to reset the bones, pinned and recasted. Cost? ZERO.

My son was diagnosed with colon cancer, he was immediately CT scanned, started on radiation and chemo to shrink the tumor, when the tumor had shrunk he was immediately scheduled to be operated on, he was operated on, developed an infection that was treated while in hospital, had follow up chemo and radiation and is being monitored regularly. He is presently doing well. Wait Time? NONE, Cost? ZERO

My neighbor down the road just had a non-emergency procedure, he had both knees replaced, time from diagnosis to replacement, 7 weeks. Cost? Zero

You are being bamboozled by special interests, there is no alternative to unrestricted universal healthcare for all.

So Doctor income is continuing to drop. It's already not worth it financially to go through med school.

So in 10 years when there are no good doctors graduating med school because all the smart kids went into other fields, what are you going to complain about?

Without good doctors, health care fails. Without proper compensation, the number of good doctors will decrease. Stop paying the doctors, see what happens.

I suported that decision and I hope many other states follow the lead.

The current house and Senate bills are bad for everyone...unless your last name is Pelosi.

Not a surprise, I've met a lot of doctors (outside of Hospitals), insurance and pharmaceutical companies do everything they can to give them perks to make sure they stay loyal to them.

Cost=0?... wow amazing canadians dont pay taxes

Dray,
Your comments are wrong. The democrats are NOT the only ones putting up healthcare proposals. Part of the problem is that they refuse to even listen to or consider the republican proposals. That's because the republican proposals include tort reforms that would limit amounts that could be raked in by the trial lawyers. The trial lawyers are one of the democrats' favorite special interest groups because of all of the money they donate to democratic causes.
The republicans are in favor of health care reform, but not the ridiculous reforms coming from the democrats, which would further bury us in debt and eventually lead to health care rationing.

If Canadian medical care is so wonderful, why are our hospitals full of Canadians getting care completely unavailable in Canada. Many Canadians come to the states to purchase medications unavailable and forbidden in Canada.

BTW, Canada is a small country with about 35 million souls; the USA has 325 million souls to "cover".

The government through taxes and the tax code controls all the money already. The consumer does not control the money, and cannot get what he wants at a rational price. The best solution is return to the free market and pay the doctor directly. Best system ever created to distribute services and goods. And the system which will be left when the current "system" collapses.

Everything currently on the table will make health care worse, and much more expensive.

TO WOODBURR:

The President's plan clearly states the gov't "Won’t add a dime to the deficit and is paid for upfront. The President’s plan will not add one dime to the deficit today or in the future and is paid for in a fiscally responsible way. It begins the process of reforming the health care system so that we can further curb health care cost growth over the long term, and invests in quality improvements, consumer protections, prevention, and premium assistance. The plan fully pays for this investment through health system savings and new revenue including a fee on insurance companies that sell very expensive plans."

In addition, the Senate Bill states "Beginning in 2014, most individuals will be required to maintain minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty of $95 in 2014, $350 in 2015, $750 in 2016 and indexed thereafter; for those under 18, the penalty will be one-half the amount for adults. Exceptions to this requirement are made for religious objectors, those who cannot afford
coverage, taxpayers with incomes less than 100 percent FPL, Indian tribe members, those who receive a hardship waiver, individuals not lawfully present, incarcerated individuals, and those not covered for less than three months."

Where are you getting your information from?

In response to Mr. Woodbrr, we are not Canadians. What works in your country will not work in ours. You may get free health care, but everything else in Canada is extremely expensive. I know, I lived and worked in Canada for a few years.

I agree with Wayne the Plumber from Canada. Americans allow themselves to be bamboozled by special interests. Primary care physicians are a vanishing breed in California, and this will exacerbate the health crisis. We need as system that fairly rewards healthcare workers or we will no longer have quality caregivers. Universal healthcare is the only logical solution. Perverse economic incentives promulgated by special interests must be eliminated. Insurance industry has given us the present morass and their role in healthcare should be limited in the public interest. The present system is untenable and unsustainable for many reasons.

The problem is that some people make more money from people being sick than others do by keeping them well. The focus should always be on the
quality of life of the patient, period. Helping someone stay fit and productive
is a benefit both to the insurance company and society at large.


Want to solve a big chunk of the problem? Change the law a bit.
Make it so that anyone employing an illegal alien is responsible for their
medical bills (and their family's too). This will give the businesses a real
incentive to actually obey the law. Local governments win too as they will
concentrate on recovering the costs as opposed to the more politically
untenable approach of deporting the illegals.

This health care reform is to socialized the country raising taxes and destroying the small business, to ruin and impoverish the country and those ones who are with this are communist and hate america people, communist didn't work in Russia not in Cuba.

the democratic party aren't listen to the american people, more than 70% of the american people desaprove this health care plan but this group of radicals didn't listen to us and if they don't listen to us, the whole group should be accountable for their crimes, dictator should be in prison.

The goverment is totaly corrupted and in bed with the big coorporation and walls streets (super-riches people)

Only 10% of the american population don't have insurance and most of it immigrants. In the name of "all the american need to have health insurance" the democratic party trying to mande this health care plan, is unconstitutional and behind this is just big taxes and the destroy of the small business, the american economy, the american people and the free market.

Canadian should be comments in american business you mind your own, more than 35% of canandian are dying with their health reform and Canadian is a Socialist country already.

Mona Liza-- you're translator is horrible and your information is severely flawed.

I was talking to someone from Europe... it turns out they have a 18% sales tax and a 40% income tax in England. France and Germany have higher taxes...

The government needs to work with doctors to find ways to reduce costs. The answer is not by paying doctors less or rationing care. The answer needs to involve keeping patients healthier, making patients responsible for staying healthy (not eating 3 big mans, 2 large fries, and a super sized diet coke), and paying doctors based on quality not quantity.

 
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