Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Medicare Shanda

"Shanda" is a Yiddish word meaning "scandal" (it also implies shame and embarrassment). And it's an entirely appropriate description of how the AMA should feel. Although it purports to represent all physicians, its membership comprises fewer than 1 in 5 of them. Yet it wields power completely out of proportion to its membership:

"Three times a year, 29 doctors gather around a table in a hotel meeting room. Their job is an unusual one: divvying up billions of Medicare dollars ... convened by the American Medical Association, has no official government standing."

It's not enough that they own, and profit substantially from, the diagnostic codes required for reimbursement from Medicare and insurers:

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversee Medicare, typically follow at least 90% of its recommendations in figuring out how much to pay doctors for their work."

And the dollar amounts are astounding: over $60 billion a year from Medicare alone. Elected by no one, accountable only to themselves, these physicians (who, by the way, aren't even necessarily the best in their own fields) control vast sums of our dollars, both directly and indirectly.

This is an area that one would think so-called "health care reform" would address, but it's nowhere to be found in the 2000+ pages of ObamaCare©.

Gee, wonder why that is.
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