La. Physicians Champion Effort to Have American Medical Association (AMA) Study Expansion of Medicare Coverage Options AMA to Study Affordable Market-Based System
CHICAGO - Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS) members attending the American Medical Association (AMA) Annual Meeting this week in Chicago were successful in convincing the nation's largest physician organization to commit to studying critical policy issues associated with introducing choice into the Medicare program.
"Medicare beneficiaries should be given the choice to remain in the current Medicare system or to move to a new defined contribution system," said AMA Past President Daniel H. Johnson, Jr., MD. Dr. Johnson pointed out that in the future, beneficiaries could purchase coverage of their choice through a marketplace of competing health plans, which would be subject to appropriate regulation.
The AMA House of Delegates, the principal policy-making body of the organization, directed that a full report of a defined contribution system for Medicare be prepared. Existing policies of the AMA recommend a system of expanded Medicare coverage options. Known as "defined contribution," this system allows Medicare beneficiaries to use a government contribution to purchase traditional fee-for-service Medicare coverage or another health insurance plan approved by Medicare. Particular focus will be on how beneficiaries with low incomes and high medical costs would be protected under a defined contribution program.
Over time, AMA policy supports a gradual shift of the current Medicare program to a
self-funded, private-sector approach to financing health care for the elderly,
with equitable means testing provisions. “Our fundamental goal in transforming
Medicare should be to assure the health of the elderly and disabled while
preserving access to high quality medical services,” said Keith DeSonier, MD,
chair for the LSMS’ AMA Delegation.
Dr. Johnson is from Metairie and is a past president of the
LSMS. Dr. DeSonier is from Lake Charles and serves at the chair for the LSMS’
Council on Legislation in addition to leading the LSMS’ AMA Delegation.
Sadie D. Wilks
LSMS Director of Communication
(225) 763-8500 or (800) 375-9508