Conflicts of Interests Among the RUC's Members

Roy Poses | Care and Cost | April 28, 2011

Since 2007, we have been writing about the secretive RUC (RBRVS Update Committee), the private AMA committee that somehow has managed to get effective control over how Medicare pays physicians. The RUC has been accused of setting up incentives that strongly favor invasive, high technology procedures while disfavoring primary care and other “cognitive medicine.” Despite the central role of (perverse) incentives in raising health care costs while limiting access and degrading quality, there was surprisingly little discussion about the pivotal role played by the RUC until the formation of the “Replace the RUC” movement (see post here).

Recently, the leaders of Replace the RUC scored a journalistic coup by putting the current list of RUC members publicly on-line. As we have discussed, previously the membership of this committee was kept very obscure, although the committee argued it was not exactly secret.

Some Google searching suggests one possible reason that the RUC was in no hurry to disclose its own membership. It appears that many of the RUC members have significant conflicts of interest with respect to their roles as de facto setters of the rates at which physicians are paid by the government...