Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

Politico puts the RUC in a harsh light

AMA says the RUC has an open policymaking process.
AMA says the RUC has an open policymaking process.

Katie Jennings has raised a ruckus about U.S. medical services pricing with a widely read article in Politico Magazine about the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC).

Jennings reports on the argument that the RUC – a body created in 1992 in an effort to help Medicare hold down costs by making recommendations about the value of medical services – is dominated by specialists and strongly favors increases in reimbursement rates for medical specialists over increases for primary care providers. Jennings also writes about Kitty Behan, who has argued that the RUC is operating as a de facto federal advisory committee that fails to meet federal advisory committee transparency requirements.

The lawsuit failed, based on the premise that the statute that created the Medicare program is beyond the scope of judicial review.

An American Medical Association communications service, the AMA Wire, has responded with a commentary suggesting that Jennings failed to adequately acknowledge the openness of the RUC valuation process, and the fact that Medicare program managers retain control over the Medicare payment system and can choose whether to accept or reject RUC recommendations.

—Allison Bell
Some say the Medicare compensation panel favors specialists over primary care doctors.

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