House Lawmaker Discusses Possible Five-Year Medicare Physician Payment Fix

CQ HealthBeat: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said the House might introduce legislation that would end the need for a constant Medicare payment fix, at least for five years. "Industry sources said that a five-year extension would not require offsets under recent pay-as-you-go rules. However, they said they were not aware of any legislative proposals. The current short-term fix extends higher payments for physicians through the end of May — at which time the cuts would be reinstated unless the payments are extended again." Van Hollen, who spoke at the annual meeting of the American Hospital Association, "did not offer further details about any legislative proposals, but said he will support efforts to block provisions of an inpatient payment rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would contribute to an actual cut in those payments in fiscal 2011" (Reichard, 4/27).

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