Advocacy Fund & Capitol Club
Joining the PAC is Vital to Your Interests
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As the nation’s attention remains fixed on Washington, DC, and health system reform, it might be tempting to think that what happens in Trenton is of secondary importance to our profession. I think that would be a big mistake. New Jersey physicians can be certain of one thing: no matter what is ultimately passed, the various proposals being debated at this point likely will make it even more difficult to practice medicine in the Garden State. That’s why it’s so critical at this very moment to invest in the PAC and help protect our profession.
A quick review is in order. New Jersey physicians receive the lowest Medicaid payments in the country: all the proposals seek to expand Medicaid eligibility. New Jersey physicians pay some of the highest medical liability premiums in the country: so far there is no real tort reform measures are in any of the proposals. New Jersey physicians pay some of the highest taxes in the country: it seems fairly certain that taxes will go up even further to pay for whatever proposals are ultimately passed. New Jersey physicians practice in one of the most expensive regions of the country and Medicare payments have not kept up with practice expenses: so far all the proposals envision a public plan that will pay Medicare rates or less and may ultimately become the dominant insurer.
There is no doubt that every physician in New Jersey is far better off this year because of the Medical Society of New Jersey’s (MSNJ) strong advocacy than they would have been without it. Your investment in the PAC will make sure that the same is true for next year, despite what happens in Washington. MSNJ has aggressively lobbied to make sure more unfunded mandates and taxes are not passed on to the physicians of New Jersey. For example, the original ambulatory surgery center bill had a provision to tax single room surgical practices, and this could have easily been extended to every physician in New Jersey; MSNJ was able to get this removed from the final bill. The original quality reporting bill had a provision to extend the hospital Medicare no pay provisions for certain hospital acquired conditions to all insurers and to physicians. Thanks to aggressive lobbying by MSNJ the no pay provisions for physicians was excluded from the final bill.
MSNJ has also been aggressive in reining in the managed care companies. They were prevented from linking their out of network fees to Medicare, which would then ultimately approach Medicaid, and they were prevented from unilaterally ranking and profiling physicians based on cost containment. MSNJ has joined with the AMA to force them to use valid fee schedules to determine usual and customary fees.
The fight continues and there’s still much work to be done. The PAC is working hard to force Horizon Blue Cross to honor assignment of benefits. In addition, a tort reform bill is presently in the works and the PAC will help advance it through the state legislature. To achieve success it is vital for our profession to make sure we continue to invest in MedAC. Please invest at least $365. Surely your practice is worth a dollar a day.
- From John W. Poole, MD, PAC Chair
Contributions to MedAC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Voluntary political contributions by individuals to MedAC should be written on personal checks. Funds from corporations will be used for political education activities and/or state election activities where allowed. Contributions are not limited to suggested amounts. Neither the AMA nor its constituent state associations will favor or disadvantage anyone based upon the amounts of or failure to make PAC contributions. Voluntary political contributions are subject to limitations of FEC regulations.