KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Schwartz Presses Super Committee To Advance Her ‘Doc Fix’ Proposal

The plan, advanced by Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., would prevent a 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payments from kicking in Jan. 1, phase out the current outdated formula and transition to a new one. Though some physician groups are lining up behind her approach, the American Medical Association has not yet "on board." 

The Hill: Rep. Schwartz Urges Super Committee To Adopt Her Medicare 'Doc Fix'
The proposal would prevent a scheduled 27.4 percent cut to doctor payments on Jan. 1 and put in place a six-year transition period with fixed payment updates. After that, the Department of Health and Human Services would be tasked with coming up with at least four payment systems physicians could choose from, based on their location, patient mix and other factors. A flat-out repeal of the SGR is estimated to cost about $300 billion over 10 years. [Rep. Allyson] Schwartz (D-Pa.) said she anticipates that her bill would save money compared to the temporary patches that lawmakers have regularly been adopting for years to prevent the scheduled cuts from going into effect (Pecquet, 11/16).

Politico Pro: AMA Not On Board With Schwartz SGR Bill
Physician groups are starting to line up behind an ambitious, but unfunded, repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate — but the American Medical Association isn't on board. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) has sent the super committee a plan to repeal the outdated formula for paying Medicare doctors. It calls for one year of stabilized payments, followed by a five-year transition period with a 2.5 percent increase for primary care and a 0.5 percent increase for specialties. By 2015, CMS has to issue at least four new payment models to replace the old formula. Physicians would be able to choose a new model or stick with the existing fee-for-service model, with disincentives starting in 2017 (Haberkorn, 11/16).

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