Stakeholders worry that, although a "doc fix" is likely to be included in a broad deficit-reduction deal, steps also need to be taken immediately to prevent scheduled Medicare physician payment cuts from kicking in.
CQ HealthBeat: Details Emerging On Possible Physician Payment Patches
Health care stakeholders are urging Congress to prevent scheduled cuts in payments to Medicare physicians, as details on another annual patch are getting caught up in the deficit-reduction negotiations. Lobbyists and provider groups are meeting with congressional staffers to try to discuss details of how to avert the payment reductions, although aides say details may not be ironed out between the parties until a broader deficit agreement is reached. A payment patch for Medicare physicians, also known as a "doc fix," is likely to be included as part of a larger deal. With much still unresolved on a deficit-reduction agreement, lawmakers have been mostly quiet on how to avoid the expiring Medicare physician payment rates. But lobbyists say some details are being discussed -- particularly the tricky issue of how to offset the cost of a payment patch (Ethridge, 12/3).