Today’s News: AMA Criticizes Health Insurers, Sacramento Considers Out-of-Town Motorist Tax and Primary Care Doctors Harder to Find

A letter issued by the American Medical Association is requesting that health insurance companies reveal their doctor rating system. In other insurance news, a study has found that the elderly pose fewer threats on the rode than their younger counterparts and in the state of Massachusetts it seems that primary care doctors are hard to find.

AMA Criticizes Health Insurers

A sharply worded letter from the American Medical Association (AMA) to the nation’s largest health insurance companies was released on Monday. In the letter, the association and 47 medical societies called on insurers to disclose to the public how they assessed doctors’ performance. Also, they want insurers’ methods to be reviewed by independent parties to stop what is viewed as unreliability of physician profiling.

Right now, the AMA believes that ratings systems used by insurers is not accurate enough to correctly direct patients to reliable doctors and hopes that this letter will initiate change that is long overdue (NY Times).

Sacramento Considers Out-of-Town Motorist Tax

Sacramento, Calif. is considering a tax on out-of-town motorists who are involved in local auto accidents. The Sacramento City Council’s Law and Legislation Committee looked into considering an ordinance that would impose the tax at its July 20 meeting.

In the proposal, non-residents would be billed if they were involved in motor vehicle accidents in the city. In some cases, the non-resident’s auto insurance company will cover the bill, but it’s possible that that non-resident would be stuck with the bill (24-7 Press Release).

Primary Care Doctors Harder to Find

While Massachusetts has the highest ratio of doctors per population in the country, it seems that residents are still having a difficult time finding a primary care physician who is accepting new patients.

New data from the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy discovered that last year 60 percent of family medicine doctors’ offices were accepting new patients. This is down from 70 percent in 2007. Even worse, only 44 percent of internal medicine practices were accepting new patients. To respond to the shortage, the report found that around 214 new primary care physicians would need to be hired (Market Watch).