Of HHS and AHIP
By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS
Last week, I came across a video of a health care conference held a month ago at the University of Miami. During a discussion period, a Miami spinal surgeon named Dr. Nordham warned that more Medicare pay cuts will make small, solo practices like his unsustainable.
Panelist Karen Ignagni, who is president and the CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), reacted defensively in favor of continued unsustainable discounts – but with a hasty, disingenuous response: “We’re seeing out of network charges of 95 times Medicare fees.” While as if on cue, former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, who is also president of the university, offered her cold interpretation of the small business owner’s legitimate fears: “He’s really complaining that the price is going down [according to law].”
After also ignoring the physician’s plea, “There needs to be more transparency,” Shalala and Ignagni continue an irrelevant, buzzword-filled discussion with each other using flowing hand gestures while shutting out the doctor’s attempts to bring the conversation back on topic. Then abruptly, without giving Dr. Nordham the opportunity to say another word, Shalala slammed the door: “…. I think we’ll take the next question, thank you.” Then she threw him a bone, “It’s a very important question, though.”
The 4 minutes of unvarnished disrespect of Dr. Nordham is so transparent that one wonders whether Shalala and Ignagni were even aware that their half-baked PR game was being recorded for C-span.
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/214023 (from 2:09:53 to 2:13:42)
They probably thought nobody stays up that late.
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