The Washington Monthly’s article, “Special Deal: The shadowy cartel of doctors that controls Medicare” by Haley Sweetland Edwards, is a call to reform or replace Medicare’s Relative Values Scale Update Committee (RUC)–the committee responsible for deciding what Medicare should pay physicians for the medical procedures they perform.
The Washington Monthly, in this article and in a previous article “The Cure,” proposes that the federal government set a date at which Medicare will pay only for health services provided by integrated systems. Edwards describes what would happen next:
“Such a move would be fiercely resisted by organized medicine, and specialist societies in particular. But it would be the surest way to control the nation’s health care costs while improving health outcomes. And it would have a delightful side benefit: with fee-for-service eliminated, there would be no need to have thirty-one doctors sit in a ballroom in Chicago and centrally plan the pricing minutia of thousands of medical services and procedures. The RUC, in other words, would be made obsolete.”
Not familiar with the mighty RUC? This blog post lays out–and flays out–the big picture…http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2013/07/another-attempt-to-show-ruc-behind.html?m=1.
To help move the RUC reform discussion forward, the NPA offers Information and Principles for Reform or Replacement of the RUC.