AMA moving to change Medicare financing

June 21, 2012 at 12:28 AM

CHICAGO, June 21 (UPI) -- The American Medical Association House of Delegates, meeting in Chicago, voted to explore alternative ways of financing Medicare.

The AMA Council on Medical Service -- which recommends policies and actions on socioeconomic factors affecting medicine -- presented a report on options for changing the current way of financing Medicare.

The report recommended building on "existing policies to support making Medicare a defined contribution program," and urged the doctors to vote in favor of a resolution to support "transitioning Medicare to a premium support program," Clinical Endocrinology News reported.

Currently, the Medicare program is a defined benefit program which guarantees enrollees receive a package of healthcare benefits. The defined contribution -- or premium support program -- has Medicare pay beneficiaries a finite amount of money to purchase health insurance privately on their own.

A few days before the meeting, Council on Medical Service Dr. Tom Sullivan said in a statement the report's favored resolution was withdrawn because the council "believes there is a need to put in additional work on a revised report."

However, the Louisiana delegation succeeded in bringing the resolution back on the table and the resolution was hotly debated during a committee meeting.

Dr. Nancy Nielsen, the immediate past-president of the AMA, cautioned against moving quickly and said a wrong move could raise the ire of senior citizens during an election year.

he AMA voted to direct the council to report back to the AMA at its interim meeting -- after the U.S. election in November, Clinical Endocrinology News said.

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