Medicare Cuts Looming For Doctors; Debt Panel’s Health Suggestions Questioned
The Associated Press: "The scheduled cuts [to doctors' reimbursements from Medicare] -- the result of a failed system set up years ago to control costs -- have raised alarms that real damage to Medicare could result if the lame-duck Congress winds up in a partisan standoff and fails to act by Dec. 1. That's when an initial 23 percent reduction would hit. ... Doctors have muddled through with temporary reprieves for years. ... there's no agreement among lawmakers and the Obama administration on how long a reprieve to grant or whether the cost -- about $1 billion per month -- should be added to the deficit or paid for with spending reductions elsewhere" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/13).
Modern Healthcare: "Healthcare providers last week questioned how a federal commission's proposal to lower the national debt ... [W]hat has officials for the nation's hospitals, physicians and medical schools angry is that the proposal suggests cutting billions more in federal healthcare payments ... just as the healthcare segment is preparing to swallow the reductions in payment that were established by this year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including $155 billion in federal funding to hospitals over a 10-year period." The American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Richard Pollack "said it was as if the proposal was developed in a vacuum" without consideration for the new health law (11/15).
Modern Healthcare, in a separate story, notes that a new report from Moody's Investor Service shows that "[h]ospice programs, specialty hospitals, home health, and oxygen and durable medical equipment are sectors that could be at risk for increased scrutiny and reimbursement cuts from the government. That's because sectors that have low barriers to entry and are more vulnerable to waste and abuse, as well as those segments that receive higher payments to other provider types, or segments that grow rapidly are likely targets for federal cuts from the government" (Zigmond, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.