MEDICARE Rx: Doctors Shouldn’t Assume Financial Risk for Drug Benefit
"The proper use of appropriate medications can prevent serious illnesses and chronic conditions" Dr. H. Allen Hooper, president of the Ventura County Medical Society, writes in a Ventura County Star op-ed. He added that using medications correctly can also keep patients out of hospitals and save money, while "enabling people to live longer, fuller lives." In light of this knowledge, Hooper highlights a recently approved California Medical Association resolution to "support actions creating a generous but controllable prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients" without subjecting physicians to financial risk for such drug coverage. "On the face of it, many people would think this is a stipulation that protects only physicians. But it is a vitally important issue for patients and society ... and one that lawmakers and the public must understand," he notes. Hooper explains that when doctors must assume the financial burden for prescribing drugs that exceed pre-established HMO cost limits, they encounter fiscal difficulties, "which jeopardizes the patients' health care options." He concludes, "We're all in this together. Should any one section of the health delivery system fail financially -- physicians and hospitals, health plans or government programs -- patients' lives are at risk" (11/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.