House GOP’s Tax Bill Includes Medicare Pay Fix, Cuts To Health Law Funding
The Hill: House GOP Introduces Payroll Tax Package
House Republicans on Friday released their legislation to extend the payroll tax cut, reform and extend unemployment insurance, and fix the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors. The move sets up a vote on the year-end package as early as Tuesday. ... the legislation extends a pay freeze for federal workers, ... and gradually increases Medicare premiums for the wealthy. It also changes the co-payment structure for certain federal retirees (Berman, 12/9).
The Associated Press: House GOP Introduces Bill Renewing Payroll Tax Cut
Doctors who serve Medicare patients are currently scheduled to automatically receive a 27 percent cut in the reimbursements they receive from the government. The bill would replace that cut 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. The $39 billion cost of that change would be mainly paid for by increasing Medicare premiums for upper income retirees, along with some cuts in spending authorized by Obama's health care overhaul. It's unclear if Democrats will accept those. The GOP plan also heads off Medicare cuts that would affect rehabilitation medicine and rural ambulance services (Fram, 12/9).
Politico Pro: House Bill Funds SGR Patch Through ACA, Hospital Cuts
House Republicans plan to cut $21.4 billion in Affordable Care Act funding, and another $16 billion in hospital payments ... The 369-page bill, released Friday morning, siphons about $13.4 billion from the pool of federal subsidies that will be used to help Americans purchase insurance coverage through exchanges and $8 billion from the health law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, according to a summary. ... As a way to partially pay for the two-year "doc fix," the bill includes a provision to recalculate nonemergency hospital payments, saving about $6.8 billion in lower reimbursement rates (DoBias, 12/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Obama, Boehner Duel Over Payroll-Tax Cut
A spat over extending a payroll-tax cut that benefits some 160 million Americans spilled over into the weekend, with President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) giving dueling radio addresses Saturday to gain support for their positions. ... Mr. Boehner, in the Republican party's weekly radio address, said the House next week will pass a bill extending the payroll-tax cut. The bill will "help Americans who are struggling in the current economy" and includes extending and reforming unemployment benefits and cutting government spending (Favole, 12/10).
The Washington Post: House GOP Formally Unveils Payroll Tax Package
At a Capitol news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ... singled out spending offsets that included cuts to Medicare and other mandatory spending programs as savings that would only be considered as part of a “big, bold and balanced plan” for trimming the federal debt, in the range of the attempted deal that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) failed to cinch over the summer (Sonmez, 12/9).
Modern HealthCare: GOP Offers Package To Avoid Doc Pay Cut
House Republicans introduced a legislative tax package that would stave off a looming 27.4% Medicare payment cut to physicians and provide a 1% payment update to doctors for the next two years. The two-year fix is the longest that Congress has approved since 2004, and is intended to give Congress some time to find a permanent solution to how doctors are paid through the Medicare program, according to a summary from the House Ways and Means Committee (Zigmond, 12/9).
BusinessWeek: Republicans Pair Payroll Tax With Oil Pipeline As Democrats Balk
More savings would come from health-care changes. People who receive subsidized insurance under the 2010 health care law and then see their incomes rise would be required to repay the government more money than under current law. High-income Medicare recipients would be required to pay higher premiums (Rubin and Sloan, 12/10).
Here's a copy of the bill.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.