Thursday, October 2, 2014

Proposition 45: pro and con


Robyn G. Young, MD, president, California Neurology Society, presents her case for Prop. 45 in her editorial available on ca-neuro-society.org (it is also summarized in our previous blog in the end-of-article listing of references).

Now comes Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, president, Union of American Physicians and Dentists, who writes in the "The UAPD Pulse" why Prop. 45 does not deserve passage.

Bussey's piece makes these points:

1. Prop 45 would shift regulatory authority from an independent commission to one political figure who would then become a "pressure point" subject to special interests.

Comment: the independent commission is also subject to special interest pressure, but it's more difficult to get to an entire committee than one person. On the other hand, commissioners get their jobs by appointment, political appointment, not by scoring well on achievement tests.

2. Bussey points out that under the ACA administrative costs are limited to 20% -- anything over that "must revert back to patient services."

Comment: Trouble is that the insurance companies often try to sneak administrative costs into the "patient services" sector. Example are utilization reviews requested by insurance companies that seek to disguise them as "consultations."

3. If  Prop. 45 passes a likely revenge step the insurance companies will take will be to slash provider reimbursement. Agreed, that's what they'll do, not that they don't already do it. The independent commission has not roared its disapproval of provider abuse.

Comment: It's also likely that the insurance companies and MPNs (Medical  Provider Networks) will jettison hundreds of doctors as a way to reduce expenses (not that that hasn't already been done). That in turn will force the remaining doctors to see more patients faster (the short visit you get now will be made even shorter).

My opinion: if Proposition 45 passes, the next step will be the implementation of rules and regulations. Proponents should be ready to take that matter on from Day One. That means day-to-day readiness to participate in the regulatory process. Proponents feel they have a better chance at fair regulation with Proposition 45 than without it. Opponents are skeptical, and with good reason, e.g., the unions bent over backwards to get Brown elected Governor only to find out yesterday that he vetoed all three of their bills. Would a single insurance commissioner be different?

The latest re the ACA: a laboratory in San Jose has just  billed a doctor's office for laboratory work done for Medicare patients. The lab in question said that changes in the Affordable Care Act made in January of 2014 allows them to do so. We'll look into this matter and see what the current insurance commissioner wants to do --  it'll be a prelude to what he'd do were Proposition 45 to pass.

In our next blog, we're planning on a few parting shots re Prop. 46,

Question: When should lawyers be tested for drugs?

Answer: When they're awake.





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