House Plan Would Give Temporary Relief To Docs, Draws Hospital Concern
The "payment patch" would largely be paid for by charging higher Medicare premiums to affluent seniors and by cutting hospital payments.
Politico: Headache Looms For Medicare
If Congress can't finish its homework before it goes on recess, it might be able to get an extension — but only if it's willing to trim its winter break. At least, that's the case with the "doc fix" — a temporary change to Medicare's troubled provider payment formula that Congress must pass to prevent a deep cut to physicians. They face a 27 percent payment cut that starts Jan. 1 unless Congress acts (Feder, 12/11).
Modern Healthcare: SGR Bandage
House Republicans late last week introduced a bill that may make the nation's physicians breathe a little easier about their Medicare payments, but could leave hospitals gasping that they're being shortchanged to make that happen. In legislation that would extend a payroll tax holiday and reform the unemployment insurance program, House GOP members included several health care-related provisions, including one that would avert the looming 27.4 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians and provide a 1 percent payment increase to doctors in 2012 and 2013 (Zigmond, 12/12).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: House GOP Unveils Fix To Looming Medicare Cuts For Doctors And Other Service Providers
House Republicans are proposing to stave off a steep cut in Medicare payments to doctors looming on Jan. 1. The plan by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan would replace a cut of more than 27 percent with 1 percent increases for 2012 and 2013. That would give Congress time to come up with a totally new system for paying doctors under Medicare (12/9).
CQ HealthBeat: Hospitals, Beneficiary Advocates Hit House GOP Doc Fix Plan
Hospital lobbyists and advocates for Medicare beneficiaries struck back Friday against the new House GOP bill that would largely pay for a two-year physician payment patch by raising Medicare premiums to affluent seniors and cutting hospital payments. The legislative package ... would increase Medicare payments to doctors 1 percent in 2012 and 2013, thereby blocking a 27 percent cut scheduled for Jan. 1. The proposal also continues the outpatient therapy cap exceptions process, among other "extenders" (Reichard, 12/9).
The Hill: House Payroll Tax Package Charges Rich Seniors More To Help Pay For 'Doc Fix'
House Republicans unveiled a payroll tax package Friday that charges rich seniors more for their Medicare coverage to help pay for delaying scheduled cuts to Medicare physician payments. The two-year, almost $39 billion "doc fix" would be the longest delay in the doctor cuts since 2004, potentially giving Congress enough time to develop a permanent solution. However, the bill's $25 billion in cuts to President Obama's health care reform law are expected to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate, likely leaving lawmakers just a few days to scramble for a bipartisan compromise before year's end (Pecquet, 12/9).
Politico Pro: Hospital Group Angered By House Tax Bill
The American Hospital Association, rocked by $21.5 billion in targeted cuts proposed in the House Republicans' year-end payroll tax and "doc fix" bill, warned congressional health staffers on Friday to get ready for a fight. The bill's two-year patch on Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula is paid for in part by clipping a trio of hospital payments to make up a portion of the roughly $32.2 billion "doc fix" cost. The Senate hasn't filed its bill, but several sources said the Finance Committee is considering some of the same hospital provisions (DoBias, 12/9).