Blog | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Health care reform amid rising consumer costs

As clashes continue over using a "deemed passed" procedure to avoid a formal vote on health care reform legislation, business groups are pressuring Democrats who are fence-sitting as party leaders shore up support. (New York Times, AP, Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, to offset declining Medicare reimbursement, one California cardiology practice instituted annual fees for unreimbursed items such as notification of test results. The practice instituted three tiers of service, ranging from $500 annually for in-office pro-time and warfarin adjustments and pacemaker follow-ups, $1,800 for priority appointments and e-mail communication, to a concierge option for $7,500. Patients who do not choose one of the three tiers will receive medically needed services, but have to schedule an office visit to discuss non-urgent test results, for example. Consumers face these and similar increasing extra health care costs more often. For example, Medicare's prescription doughnut hole affects seniors at a time when prescription prices are outpacing inflation. (Kaiser Health News)