This week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), along with three physician co-sponsors, Senators Tom Coburn, MD (R-Ok), Rand Paul, MD (R-KY), and John Barrasso, MD (R-WY), re-introduced S. 236, the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act. All three physician senators were original co-sponsors in the previous Congress. The bill provides for a viable Medicare private contracting option that allows patients to see the doctor of their choice without losing their Medicare benefit. Under the current system, physicians must opt-out of Medicare for two years if they enter into a private contract with a patient and the patient loses the benefit. The legislation would allow physicians and patients to contract freely on a case-by-case basis, without penalty, for Medicare services.
ASCRS worked with the physician community to ensure the bill’s reintroduction in the 113th Congress. In conjunction with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine, ASCRS wrote a letter in support of the legislation.