KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Stabenow: Reverse Medicare Payment Cuts

On Tuesday Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., along with representatives from AMA, AARP and the Military Officers Association of America, "argued at a Capitol Hill news conference that" reversing $247 billion in projected Medicare reimbursement cuts to doctors over the next decade "is necessary to create more stability for health care providers in a current climate of uncertainty," CNN reports. According to Stabenow, "reversing the cuts over the long term amounts to little more than an acknowledgment of political reality" (10/20).

FOX News: "Stabenow described the existing formula as a 'kabuki dance' analogous to not paying mortgage payments hoping they will go away, but finding a bigger bill the following month" (Turner and Angle, 10/20).

Dow Jones: Stabenow also told reporters "we've got work to do" to gather enough votes.  "We need Republicans with us," she said. "Right now, we don't have Republicans with us."

James Rohack, AMA president, said "the current system 'penalizes the doctors' for providing good medical care, because it offers little compensation for doctors who coordinate their care with other doctors and provide effective treatments for chronic illnesses. ... But when asked if the bill would cause the American Medical Association to endorse a broader health overhaul, Rohack demurred. 'We haven't seen the Senate bill,' Rohack said. 'Once we get something out there, then we'll be able to answer that question.'

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., was emphatic Tuesday about his determination not to take up any legislation dealing with the Medicare physician payment issue unless the Senate agreed to attach a measure that would legally require most new federal government mandatory spending to be offset by cuts to the federal budget elsewhere" (Yoest and Boles, 10/20).

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