Congress Facing Deadline On Medicare Payments To Doctors
The Associated Press: Congress' Next Fights Over Jobless Aid, Tax Breaks
Preventing the cut in Medicare payments to doctors is estimated to cost more than $20 billion next year. It is considered a near certainty that Congress will address it because of the clout that Medicare and doctors have with lawmakers. Within minutes of Monday's announcement that the supercommittee had failed, the American Medical Association was warning that the 27 percent cut would "force many physicians to limit the number of Medicare and TRICARE patients they can care for in their practices" (Fram, 11/22).
Modern Healthcare: Democrats Call For Extending SGR Fix By Dec. 16
The Democratic Party leadership in the House of Representatives is calling for an extension of the sustainable growth-rate Medicare payment formula "fix" in order to delay a scheduled 27.4 percent slash in provider reimbursement that will take effect in January unless Congress acts (Robeznieks, 11/22).
The Fiscal Times: Is There a Doctor Fix in the House….And Senate?
Last June, the Congressional Budget Office calculated it would (cost) $275 billion to maintain (Medicare) physician pay at current levels over the next ten years. ... it's likely that this year's fix – like last year's fix – will be a one- or two-year stopgap measure that uses ten years of savings from some minor limits on spending in other parts of the Medicare program. That’s right. Congress votes and the president signs a bill that counts ten years of savings to pay for one or two years of spending (Goozner, 11/23).
Politico Pro: Providers' Agenda: Fix SGR First
Medicare providers don't like the 2 percent cuts they have coming now that the super committee has failed to reach a deficit agreement — but their most urgent priority is to head off the 27 percent cut due to take effect Jan. 1. Physician and hospital groups will have a whole year to stave off the super committee's 2 percent cuts — and any further tinkering with the trigger that could negatively impact them. They'll have to scramble, though, to prevent the 27 percent cut that's due when the latest patch to the Sustainable Growth Rate expires at the end of the year (Haberkorn, 11/23).