Deal For Year-Long Doc Fix In The Works
Politico: Senators reached a tentative deal Monday that would tap health law funds to avert a scheduled pay cut for physicians. The deal would take back about $19.2 billion in health law subsidies to help people buy health insurance beginning in 2014. It "would change how much money consumers would have to repay if their income status changes mid-year, pushing them out of the eligibility bracket. For instance, someone who qualified for a subsidy because he was unemployed in the first half of the year may have to repay a large portion of that subsidy if he finds a job. Few additional details were available Monday night." Under the law, those that make less than 400 percent of the federal poverty threshold will qualify for subsidies to help them pay for insurance if their employer doesn't offer coverage (Haberkorn, 12/6).
The Associated Press: "The agreement would mean the current set of fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients would remain in place through the end of 2011. Without action by Congress, doctors would face a cut of about 23 percent in their Medicare reimbursements." The $19 billion would cover the cost of the changes (12/6).
"Congress recently passed legislation that staved off for one month a scheduled 23 percent cut. Although members of both parties, the administration, and physician and patient groups agreed that they wanted to block cuts to the payment rates through 2011, the biggest obstacle had remained how to pay for the expensive 'doc fix,'" CQ HealthBeat reports. "Republicans had floated the idea of using funding from other parts of the health care law, such as a fund to pay for prevention and public health efforts. But they backed off in the face of Democratic opposition, and lawmakers shifted to looking for a less controversial offset" (Ethridge, 12/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.