More than 35,000 physicians, The California Medical Assn. is the second largest medical association in the United States.
The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.
The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas.
The group’s executive committee met last week to discuss the Senate legislation proposed by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Nov. 18, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Association leaders plan to issue a news release detailing their opposition later today, spokesman Andrew LaMar told The Times.
“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee. […]
Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.
Medicare reimbursements would decrease 40% in coming years under the Senate bill, LaMar said. California doctors already contend with some of the lowest MediCal reimbursement rates in the nation, and although those rates would not change under the Senate bill, the pool of people eligible for coverage would increase. Only about a third of California doctors currently accept MediCal, and GnanaDev said that would likely grow under the Senate plan.
“If the doctors can’t see you, the only choice you have is the emergency room, which is a very bad way to get healthcare,” he said.
[…] the association has not endorsed the House bill, which was backed by doctors last month at the national convention of the American Medical Assn. in Houston. The AMA has not taken a position on the Senate bill, although it also oppose provisions that would lower Medicare reimbursement rates.