UPDATE

April 11, 2018

 

Radical Physician Rate Regulation Bill Would Significantly Reduce Patient Access and Consumer Choice, While Increasing Out-Of-Pocket Costs


Today, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) announced radical new legislation that would increase patient out-of-pocket costs and result in a dangerous government intrusion into the health care market by creating state-sanctioned rationing of health care for all Californians.
 
Assembly Bill 3087 would establish an undemocratic, government-run commission with nine political appointees who would unilaterally set the price for all medical services that are not already controlled by the government, essentially eliminating commercial health care markets in California. None of the political appointees are required to be patient-focused or have any tangible experience in the delivery of health care to patients.
 
AB 3087 will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on April 24. Physicians are urged to visit actnow.io/PriceFixing to email their legislators and ask them to stop this dangerous bill. If you're active on social media, please also click on the Twitter/Facebook icons to voice your opposition on these platforms.
 
"No state in America has ever attempted such an unproven policy of inflexible, government-managed price caps across every health care service," said California Medical Association (CMA) President Theodore M. Mazer. "It threatens to reverse the historic gains for health coverage and access made in California since the passage of the Affordable Care Act."
 
Despite fundamentally altering how health care services are provided in California, the bill explicitly prohibits health care professionals from participating on the commission. This commission-constructed to view patient care simply as a cost center-would have the unprecedented authority to ration the timing and quality of care California patients receive by fixing the prices of the commercial health care market.
 
This bill does nothing to ensure that patient out-of-pocket costs are decreased and moves California away from the goal of value-based care backwards to an antiquated fee-for-service model. It would also have the consequence of dramatically reducing consumer choices. 
 
"AB 3087 is a poorly conceived, monumental threat to patient access to health care that goes against the Assembly's own expert recommendations," said Dr. Mazer. "This dangerously flawed legislation would result in government-sanctioned rationing of care and higher out-of-pocket costs for patients."
 
The bill would also put additional cost pressure on the California health care delivery system by allowing lawyers and lobbyists to be reimbursed by the Commission for lobbying the Commission. This process mirrors existing intervenor fee models that have not reduced overall consumer cost-but have served as a means for special interests to, as one former State Insurance Commissioner alleged, get "fat off the public trough." Brazenly, the bill also creates a direct funding mechanism that would financially benefit one of the bill's sponsors. 
 
AB 3087 also ignores the recommendations from the University of California, San Francisco's report-commissioned by the Assembly-to achieve universal access to health care, which includes implementing a comprehensive strategy to overcome the physician workforce shortage in the state by removing barriers that prevent physicians and other clinicians from specializing in primary care and practicing in underserved areas. Currently, six of nine California regions are already facing a primary care provider shortage, and 23 of California's 58 counties fall below the minimum required primary care physician-to-population ratio. The state needs 8,243 additional primary care physicians by 2030 - a 32 percent increase.
 
"AB 3087 would cause an exodus of practicing physicians, which would exacerbate our physician shortage and make California unattractive to new physician recruits," said Dr. Mazer. "The Legislature should reject AB 3087, and instead, focus on real solutions that further value-based care, ensure a patient can access a physician when they need one and tackle California's physician shortage."
 
Historically, policies of inflexible and arbitrary price caps are viewed as ineffective in controlling costs and detrimental to access to health care. During federal health reform discussions, both the Obama and Clinton Administration considered price-cap proposals but ultimately rejected them on the basis that they posed too many direct and indirect risks to the overall health care delivery system.


CAP HOD '18 Spring Meeting Report to CSP

The CAP House of Delegates (HOD) met on March 17, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The meeting coordinated with the USCAP Meeting bringing many pathologists and pathology residents to the city. For the first time, portions of the meeting were live-streamed on Facebook, and are archived and available at the CAP Facebook page.
 
Delegates of the California Delegation, as well as Governors Dr. Eric Glassy and Dr. Gerald Hanson, were in attendance.
 
The Candidate Forum for Secretary-Treasurer, and Board of Governors presented their perspectives, and allowed Delegates to ask questions, and present concerns to the candidates. HOD Roundtables included topics such as Maintenance of Certification (MOC), On-boarding the new in practice, laboratory accreditation inspections and inspectors, digital pathology sign-out, and the CAP Website experience. Other presentations included cancer reporting.
 
There are openings in the Delegation, so if you are interested in participating, please contact me. In addition, please contact me with any other concerns you might have to bring forward to the HOD leadership.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
S. Robert Freedman, MD, FCAP
California Delegation Chair


Save the Date

CSP Annual Meeting
November 26-December 3, 2018
Hyatt Regency San Francisco


 

California Society of Pathologists
One Capitol Mall Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814 
Tel : 916-446-6001
Fax :  916-444-7462