Reuters reports that the White House Wednesday "urged Congress to pass a bill to boost Medicare payments to doctors, a step that could shore up support" from the American Medical Association for health care reform.
The bill, which would stop a scheduled 21 percent cut in doctor Medicare payments next year and implement a fee schedule that pays doctors more, has been endorsed by the AMA. "The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill on Thursday." It is slated to cost $210 billion over 10 years and is separate from the larger health care reform overhaul. The AMA's support for that larger overhaul is viewed by many to be contingent on the higher Medicare reimbursement rates attached to the so-called "doc fix." The AMA "wants the Senate, which failed to bless similar legislation in October, to act as well" (Smith, 11/18).
Related KHN Coverage: Doctors Fear Reform Angst Is Tainting Medicare Payment "Fix" (Weaver, 11/17)