AUA, other groups urge Senate to make 'critical' changes to reform bill

December 17, 2009

AUA, as part of a coalition of 18 other surgical specialties, said it is urging the U.S. Senate to consider making critical changes to its version of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2009 to address significant concerns from physician groups.

AUA, as part of a coalition of 18 other surgical specialties, said it is urging the U.S. Senate to consider making critical changes to its version of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act of 2009 to address significant concerns from physician groups.

The Senate has begun its debate of the bill, which differs significantly from the version passed in November by the House of Representatives. Both bills address a number of issues key to the reform effort, including insurance market reforms, expansion of public programs, physician quality improvement initiatives, and a need for comparative effectiveness research, AUA said in a statement.

While the coalition supported key provisions in the House bill, the group does not feel that medical liability reform, physician payment, and means to increase patients’ access to quality care are adequately addressed in the Senate version.

Other areas of concern in the Senate bill include the establishment of an Independent Medicare Advisory Board, Medicare enrollment fees for physicians, and proposed budget-neutral bonus payments for primary care physicians and rural-area general surgeons.

"Health care reform is a critical initiative that must be undertaken by U.S. lawmakers in concert with the concerns of the nation’s physicians," said AUA Health Policy Chair Steven M. Schlossberg, MD, MPH. "In order to truly reform the system, the issues surrounding medical liability, work force, and physician payment must be addressed. All of these areas directly affect physicians’ ability to provide quality care to patients."

The coalition has been working closely with both the House of Representatives and the Senate to share specialists’ concerns and provide input in developing health care reform legislation since Congress took up the issue earlier this year.