- The most recent plan we’ve seen from Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Montana) would stop the cut and institute a 1.1-percent increase for the rest of this year and all of 2009.
- That would give Congress 18 months to devise a long-term replacement for the sustainable growth rate (SGR) financing formula. It also sets up a very steep cliffhanger: The cost of the 18-month delay would require a cut in physician Medicare payments of 20 percent or more in 2010.
- That cut is even more incentive to replace the SGR with a system that keeps up with the cost of running a practice. The best permanent fix bills have come from Texans: Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville).
- Financing the 18-month stopgap also includes money set aside to increase payments to Medicare Advantage plans. President Bush has threatened to veto any bill that cuts on Medicare Advantage.
Monday, June 9, 2008
CONGRESS BUILDING A BIGGER MEDICARE BAND-AID?
As usual, it takes a deadline with a big cut in physicians’ Medicare payments for Congress to act. This time, it’s the 10.6-percent cut scheduled for July 1. TMA is very engaged in the debate, and we’re working with all of our allies in Washington to stop the cut and find a way to stop this annual circus. A TMA team of physicians and county society executives will be in Washington June 23 for our annual Border Health Conference. It’s a highly charged and partisan atmosphere, but there is some movement in our direction. And thanks to Texas physicians’ hard work, most of the Texas congressional delegation supports a bigger Band-Aid than we’ve seen in recent years, and they want a permanent Medicare fix. Here’s where we are so far:
Posted by Steve Levine at 1:23 PM