CLC Writes the Senate
ADVANCE received the following press release from ASCLS:
"The Clinical Laboratory Coalition, of which ASCLS is a member, has written the Senate Finance Committee after learning a 20 percent Medicare laboratory co-pay was being proposed by the Senate Finance Committee. The organization told the Committee Chair that: the co-pay financially burdens beneficiaries, laboratories, hospitals and clinics and will not accomplish any change in utilization because laboratory services are ordered by physicians and other healthcare providers, not initiated by patients. The result of this proposed policy is a not a cost savings to our healthcare system, but rather, a staggering new $20 billion cost shift to seniors and additional operating costs for laboratories, clinics and hospitals.
Congress has previously rejected this idea both because it does not result in a change in utilization and because of the huge costs to collect these small co-pays. The proposal shifts over $20 billion in program costs to the senior citizens and then requires the collection of that $20 billion in the most administratively inefficient manner imaginable.
Implementation of a laboratory co-pay will require over one quarter million bills to be mailed every day. In addition to the burden and confusion these 134 million bills will create for seniors, the cost of collecting $20 billion in these small amounts will exceed the co-pay itself.
Seniors in rural areas and in nursing homes and home health settings would be hardest hit. These patients are served primarily by small, local independent and hospital laboratories specializing in serving these most vulnerable populations. These local, small laboratories have tight operating margins and could ill-afford what is, in essence, a 20-25 percent cut in their reimbursement. This co-pay provision could quickly put many of these small laboratories out of business with no one to replace their services for these most vulnerable seniors."