GOP To Vote Friday On Tying Medicare Doctor Pay Fix To Repeal Of Health Law's Insurance Mandate

The strategy could force Democrats into a difficult vote.

The Fiscal Times: GOP Pits Doc Fix Vs. Individual Mandate In Obamacare Fight
House Republicans are rallying around a new strategy to undermine the president's signature health care law. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor scheduled a vote on Friday to tie a delay of Obamacare's individual mandate, requiring all Americans to possess health insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty, to a piece of bipartisan legislation that would permanently fix Medicare's flawed physician payment system. Since 1997, the federal government has been using the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula to determine how much to pay Medicare doctors. But since Medicare spending has exceeded the target every year since 2003, doctors have been left vulnerable to major pay cuts (Ehley, 3/10).

CQ HealthBeat: Physician Practices Not Ready For 'Doc Fix' Transition
For years, doctors have pushed lawmakers to do away with Medicare's outdated physician payment formula and move to a more stable system that would reward quality work, not just volume. Congress is now closer than ever to repealing the sustainable growth rate formula, which has resulted in repeated short-term "doc fixes" to avert drastic cuts in Medicare reimbursements (Ethridge, 3/10).

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