Yesterday a coalition of 19 surgical organizations representing over 240,000 doctors nationwide sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), with copies to the entire U.S. Senate, explaining why they must oppose the Senate’s version of Obamacare.

Read the whole letter here, or skip to their list of specific problems with the bill below the fold. You’ll see that almost all of their complaints have to do with the tremendous amount of authority this bill rips away from doctors and patients and transfers to bureaucrats in Washington DC. Heritage scholar Bob Moffit details just some of the DC power grab here, and the Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio covers the behemoth the Department of Health and Human Services would become, here.

The surgeons oppose:

  • Establishment and proposed implementation of an Independent Medicare Advisory Board whose recommendations could become law without congressional action;
  • Mandatory participation in a seriously flawed Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) program with penalties for non-participation;
  • Budget-neutral bonus payments to primary care physicians and rural general surgeons;
  • Creation of a budget-neutral value-based payment modifier which CMS does not have the capability to implement and places the provision on an unrealistic and unachievable timeline;
  • Requirement that physicians pay an application fee to cover a background check for participation in Medicare despite already being obligated to meet considerable requirements of training, licensure, and board certification;
  • Relying solely on the limited recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in determining a minimum coverage standard for preventive services and associated cost-sharing protections;
  • The so-called “non-discrimination in health care” provision that would create patient confusion over greatly differing levels of education, skills and training among health care professionals while inappropriately interjecting civil rights concepts into state scope of practice laws;
  • The absence of a permanent fix to Medicare’s broken physician payment system and any meaningful proven medical liability reforms; and
  • The last-minute addition of the excise tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures. This tax discriminates against women and the middle class. Experience at the state level has demonstrated that it is a failed policy which will not result in the projected revenue. Furthermore, this provision is arbitrary, difficult to administer, unfairly puts the physician in the role of tax collector, and raises serious patient confidentiality issues.