Hospital, Physician Groups Advance Interests In Deficit Reduction Debate
Hospital executives will lobby Congress next week to raise the eligibility age for Medicare instead of reducing payments to hospitals. Doctors are ginning up their grass-roots efforts to pressure the 'super committee' to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula.
Boston Globe: Hospitals Push Age Hike for Medicare
As the deficit reduction super committee hunts for $1.5 trillion in additional savings, U.S. hospital executives are so worried about having their payments cut that they plan to start lobbying Congress next week to shift the burden onto their elderly patients — specifically by raising the age of eligibility for Medicare. The American Hospital Association is rallying hundreds of hospital leaders to descend upon the Capitol on Tuesday and urge legislators to consider increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as one way to save money without reducing payments to hospitals. That move is so controversial that President Obama, who once expressed a willingness to entertain the change in Medicare age eligibility, omitted it from his deficit-reduction proposal last week (Jan, 9/30).
Politico Pro: 'Doc Fix' Lobbying Goes Grass-Roots
National physician groups are turning to their state-level counterparts in an effort to pressure the congressional super committee to repeal Medicare's troubled Sustainable Growth Rate formula once and for all. In a letter sent Thursday to its base of primary care practitioners, the American Academy of Family Physicians urged its members to enlist their elected officials in a coordinated campaign to help put SGR repeal on the deficit reduction panel's agenda. …The AAFP letter is similar in tone and substance to a series of appeals made by medical groups such as the American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Associations. But the direct appeal to the 12-member, bipartisan committee marks a new pathway for an old problem (Dobias, 9/29).
Also in the news from Capitol Hill:
iWatch News: Senators Want Aggressive Action To Curb Rampant Medicare Fraud
In the letter to Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, wrote that Medicare contractors are allowing doctors and scam artists to retain Medicare billing privileges even if they have lost their medical licenses or have been convicted of felonies related to tax evasion, health care fraud, and "lewd and lascivious conduct." ... The letter also includes a list of possibly dubious practitioners and a request that CMS determine if they should be revoked from the program (Eaton, 9/30).