Medicare Physician Reimbursement Archives
June 25, 2010. Late Thursday evening, Congress passed a bill that delays the 21% cut in Medicare physician reimbursements for six months. The cuts took effect on June 1st and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began processing claims last week with the cuts.
June 11, 2010. Senate Democrats proposed several changes to HR 4213, a jobs bill passed by the House at the end of May. The changes would restore an estimated $24 billion in Medicaid funds and a $22.9 billion provision that would further delay proposed cuts in Medicare physician reimbursement payments.
March 12, 2010. In the meantime, the Senate voted on Wednesday to approve a $138 billion measure that would temporarily prevent Medicare payment cuts to doctors as well as extend federal Medicaid assistance and COBRA premium subsidies. Both houses are hopeful to send a final bill to the President before the Passover/Easter recess.
November 20, 2009. Late Thursday, the House voted to pass HR 3961, the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009.” The bill eliminates the 21.2% reduction in Medicare physician payments that was scheduled to take place on January 1, 2010 and also blocks a cumulative 40% cut over the next six years. The bill permanently replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a more stable system.
November 13, 2009. Next week, the House is scheduled to take up HR 3961, the “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009.” The bill would eliminate the 21.2% reduction in Medicare physician payments that would take place on January 1, 2010.
November 6, 2009. Late last week, House Democratic leaders from the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee introduced HR3961, a bill that would repeal the current system of paying physicians under Medicare. The “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act” would repeal a 21% fee reduction scheduled for January 2010 and replace the physician payment formula with a more stable system. Under HR3961, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula would be replaced with a new formula.
October 23, 2009. The Senate procedural vote of cloture on S.1776 “The Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009” failed 47 to 53 this week, leaving the legislation stalled in the Senate. The measure would update the Medicare physician reimbursement schedule by repealing the sustainable growth rate formula (SGR) and scheduled payment cuts. S.1776 faced opposition from both Republicans and conservative Democrats due to it adding $247 billion over 10 years to the federal deficit. Both of the Virginia senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb, voted against the measure. Sources have indicated that Senator Kent Conrad, Chair of the Budget Committee and Senator Charles Grassley are working on amending S.1776 to pay for the expected cuts.
October 16, 2009. On Monday, Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced S.1776, which would update the physician fee schedule beginning 2010. The legislation is intended to mitigate the impact of reimbursement cuts, including a 21.5% reduction, by repealing the sustainable growth rate formula. Senate Democratic leaders bypassed the committee process on Tuesday, allowing the legislation to be sent directly to the Senate floor with a vote occurring as early as next week.
October 9, 2009. On Wednesday, the Senate blocked a unanimous consent request from the House to approve a bill eliminating all Medicare Part B premium increases (Medicare Part B pays for doctor visits for senior citizens). HR 3631, the “Medicare Premium Fairness Act,” passed the House by a vote of 406 to 18 on September 24th and is necessary due to the impact of deflation and no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment scheduled for next year. Most Medicare beneficiaries have their premiums deducted from their Social Security payments and without Congressional action, an estimated 12 million people (27% of Medicare beneficiaries) would face monthly premium increases of $8 to $23 above the standard monthly premium of $96.40.
June 5, 2009. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V) has introduced a bill that would increase the powers and jurisdiction of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). This legislation would actually make MedPAC a new federal agency modeled after the Federal Reserve. This new agency would be staffed by independent experts who would then set all reimbursement rates for Medicare. Congress would have the power to either accept or reject the recommendations. President Obama has publicly supported this legislation.
May 15, 2009. In its annual report to Congress this week, the Medicare Board of Trustees said it expects the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to be exhausted in 2017, two years earlier than previously predicted, as a result of the current economic recession. According to the report, Medicare expenditures totaled $468 billion in 2008, or 3.2% of gross domestic product, and are expected to reach 11.4% of GDP in 75 years.
May 8, 2009. A bipartisan group consisting of 90 House members on Wednesday sent a letter to House leadership asking them to increase Medicare physician payments for 2010, when a 21% reduction is set to take effect, and permanently change the payment formula. The letter adds that the lawmakers will not support health care overhaul legislation funded by a cut to specialty physician payments.
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