Hill Staffers Predict Deal To Prevent Cuts To Medicare Physician Payments

At an event Tuesday, staffers from both sides of the aisle predicted that a "doc fix" agreement would be reached to prevent large scheduled cuts from kicking in. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association and its affiliates set out a list of principles in a letter to Senate Finance Committee members to help guide the development of an alternative to the current Medicare physician payment formula.

Politico Pro: Hill Staffers Confident About Doc Fix Deal
Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats said Tuesday that a deal to stave off drastic cuts to physician payments under the Sustainable Growth Rate formula would be reached by year's end. Congress has made the "doc fix" for the past 10 years and will do so again this year, Josh Trent, health policy adviser to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), said at Politico's Emerging Health Care Leaders event Tuesday morning. Tony Clapsis, a Senate Finance Committee staffer, made a similar point, saying that the doc fix is one health care issue that both sides of the aisle agree must be dealt with (Norman, 10/16).

CQ HealthBeat: Physician Groups Release Principles For Replacing Flawed Medicare Payment Formula
Congress should come up with an alternative to the current physician payment formula that meets principles such as rewarding doctors for incrementally improving the system rather than penalizing them if they don't respond to "abrupt changes in care delivery," the American Medical Association and its affiliates said in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee leaders. The letter, sent Monday, was signed by the AMA as well as more than 100 affiliated groups and supporting organizations. It provides a list of principles that the associations hope lawmakers will consider when creating a transitional payment system that would replace the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which Congress routinely changes on a year-by-year basis (Adams, 10/16).

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