A battle is heating up over the proposed changes in how doctors are reimbursed for administering prescription medications through Medicare.

Nearly everyone from special interest groups to politicians agree that prescription medication is costing too much money but coming to an agreement on how to lower the costs is proving to be more difficult. The Obama administration has discovered this with its latest proposal to change how doctors are reimbursed for administering certain prescriptions to patients.

Currently, doctors are paid the cost of the medication plus a percentage of that cost. This gives them a financial incentive to prescribe more costly medications even when a cheaper drug is just as effective. The administration proposes an experiment to see if changing how doctors are reimbursed to lessen that financial incentive will lead to lower costs for Medicare.

As KRQE News 13 points out in “Medicare plan on payment for cancer drugs stirs battle” this proposal has sparked a heated dispute between interest groups, including different groups of doctors.

For example, cancer doctors say the proposal will harm patients as smaller, often rural, clinics will not be able to afford to administer the drugs and could even close. On the other hand, primary care physicians are in favor of the proposal and accuse the other side of using scare tactics to turn patients against it.

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