This week, ophthalmologist Sen. Rand Paul, MD (R-KY), reintroduced the Senate version of the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act at the request of ASCRS. S. 3610 would allow physicians and patients to contract freely on a case-by-case basis, without penalty, for Medicare services. Medicare beneficiaries would still be able to use their benefits, and physicians would not be forced to opt out of Medicare for two years, as is the case under the current system if they enter into a private contract with a Medicare patient.
Last fall, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) reintroduced the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act (H.R. 4133) in the House of Representatives.
ASCRS supports the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act of 2018, as it has previous versions of the legislation. In the 114th Congress, H.R. 1650 and S. 1849 were introduced by Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA), in the House and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in the Senate.
With the lame duck session nearing an end, it is unlikely that there will be any movement on the bill, but Sen. Paul has indicated that he will reintroduce it in the next Congress, as well.
We will keep you updated.