With Clock Ticking, Negotiators Seek Ways To Pay For ‘Doc Fix’
Lawmakers have different ideas about financing the payroll tax break extension and the Medicare physician payment fix. One proposal getting a lot of attention is using war savings.
The Associated Press: Payroll Tax Negotiations Off To Slow Start
Negotiators on Capitol Hill agreed Wednesday to try to extend a payroll tax cut worth about $1,000 this year for a typical worker through the end of the year. But they remain far apart on how to pay for the extension, and for jobless benefits for millions, without swelling the national debt... At the same time, the panel is grappling with how to address almost a 30-percent scheduled cut in the fees that Medicare pays to doctors (Taylor, 2/1).
Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: War Savings May Be Key To Long-Term 'Doc Fix' Deal
Kaiser Health News' staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about the congressional conference committee trying to hammer out a bargain on a payroll tax cut extension and the Medicare "doc fix." If the conferees — who are now discussing the possibility of a permanent "doc fix" — fail to agree to a proposal, doctors who see Medicare patients are in line for a 27 percent cut slated to take effect in March. Listen to the audio of the interview or read the transcript.
CQ HealthBeat: Conference Committee Agrees Permanent Doc Fix Is Needed, But How To Pay The Bill?
Negotiators on a House-Senate conference committee Wednesday voiced what they called notable bipartisan agreement that a permanent solution must be found for the flawed Medicare physician reimbursement system. A Republican senator suggested that at a minimum the formula should be repealed while lawmakers continue to search for a fix. But how to shoulder the immense cost of a long-term solution remained elusive (Norman, 2/1).
Modern Healthcare: Lawmakers Urged To Spare Hospitals In Fixing SGR
Several hospital groups urged Congress to use savings from overseas operations as a way to solve Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula for physicians—as long as those funds would provide for a full fix. Organizations including the Federation of American Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems sent a letter to members of Congress that again lobbied federal lawmakers to find a permanent solution to the way the Medicare program reimburses physicians that does not compromise funding to the nation's hospitals (Zigmond, 2/1).
Also in the news, the CBO is drawing scrutiny -
The Wall Street Journal: Congress's Number Cruncher Comes Under Fire
Republican staffers on three Senate committees are pressing a congressional office that scrutinizes federal budget issues and proposed legislation over how its assessments are compiled. The inquiries of the Congressional Budget Office, which haven't been made public, concern the CBO's analyses of some of Washington's most complex and controversial measures, including bills on financial regulation, health care, small-business lending and efforts to aid the housing market, said people familiar with the matter (Strasburg, 2/2).