Blame the RUC for the primary care crisis, or not

The maligned group that advises Medicare on physician payments has been frequently targeted by generalist doctors, as well as this blog.

Hold on, says the ACP’s Bob Doherty, who provides some arguments in their defense.

Indeed, the RUC did vote to marginally increase payments to evaluation and management codes, the ones frequently used by primary care doctors. Furthermore, Mr. Doherty brings up a good point, asking if not the RUC, who will decide physician payments? Economists hired by the federal government?

That being said, the group is dominated by specialists, with primary care comprising only three of its 26 members. As Medicare listens to its recommendations the majority of the time, it is clear that specialists have tremendous influence on how doctors are paid, and the major reason why American medicine has become dominated by proceduralists.