Washington, DC – A simple but effective mechanism to increase both choice and access to quality healthcare for the Nation’s Medicaid eligible poor, while saving billions in Medicaid and CHIP outlays, was introduced today (Thursday) in the House of Representatives. Under the proposed law, doctors and medical professionals who offer medical care for low-income Americans would receive a tax deduction for each low-income patient they treat for free.
The “Physician Pro Bono Care Act ” was introduced by Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) and Colin Peterson (D-MN). The bill has five additional co-sponsors including Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
Many physicians are dropping out of the Medicaid program due to high administrative costs and procedural burdens. This bipartisan Physician Pro Bono Care Act (HR 856) effectively provides Medicaid and CHIP eligible individuals and families access to healthcare, the ability to choose their physicians and establish long-term patient-physician relationships.
At the same time, the law would provide physicians the opportunity to avoid Medicaid’s and CHIP’s costly administrative burdens and receive a simple charitable tax deduction for their services. The annual net savings of this charitable deduction approach to Medicaid and the CHIP program expenditures would be a multiple of the cost of the deduction.
“This can be a bipartisan win-win to improve access and choice to healthcare for those of limited means and I urge the Congress to take up this legislation and pass it,” said Dan Weber, president and founder of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). “From the positive feedback we’ve received from physicians, we believe medical care could be offered to as many as 7 million needy people,” Weber added.
“This bill is a creative, commonsense solution that ensures our most vulnerable Americans have access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a price they can afford,” said Rep. Daniel Webster. “This bill removes government bureaucracy and red-tape that obstructs the patient-doctor relationship, and it expands access to doctors for some of the more vulnerable in our society.”
“In addition to expanding care options for those most in need, the Physician Pro Bono Care Act also has the potential to save billions of dollars in federal healthcare expenditures,” said Rep. Colin Peterson. “I look forward to working with Congressman Webster to implement this important reform.”
Other co-sponsors of the bill include: Rick Allen (R-GA), Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR).
AMAC is the 1.5-million-member conservative alternative to AARP and has extensively lobbied in support of the measure. The organization will continue its work with House Members to encourage more co-sponsors as well as support from the medical and conservative communities, who supported a nearly identical version of the bill which was introduced in the last session of Congress.