LastMinute Senate Skirmishes Could Cause Setbacks For Easy Passage Of The Doc

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The House-passed plan to end the annual congressional ritual of blocking deep, automatic cuts in Medicare reimbursements for doctors has just run into more hot water. Before the Senate takes up the measure after a two-week break, Paul Spitalnic, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, released a new analysis. It cautions that the bill passed by the House in March will increase Medicare spending by $150.5 billion in the coming decade – with much of that tacked onto the deficit. (Pianin 4/12) The Wall Street Journal: Senate Wrangles Over Medicare-Payments Fix Reuters: U.S. Conservatives Threaten Delay To Fixing Medicare Doctor Payments Last-Minute Senate Skirmishes Could Cause Setbacks For Easy Passage Of The ‘Doc Fix’ One of the main objections is from conservatives who are concerned that the measure’s $214 billion cost is not fully paid for. The Fiscal Times: Medicare ‘Doc Fix’ May Be No Fix at All Politico Pro: Little Is Clear On Senate’s SGR Vote Schedule Backers of legislation to set up a new system of Medicare payments to doctors and other providers are seeking to settle a flurry of last-minute skirmishes that threaten its quick passage in the Senate when Congress returns from a two-week recess Monday. The main concern is from conservatives who are frustrated that two-thirds of the measure’s $214 billion cost would be financed through higher deficits and are looking at ways to pay for the measure without resorting to borrowing. (Hughes, 4/12) Politico Pro: SGR Bill Risks Doc Pay Problems, CMS Warns The Senate is expected to vote next week on the permanent Medicare payment reform bill that overwhelmingly passed in the House last month. But exactly how that vote will happen is still unclear, especially since a group of conservatives wants to upend leadership’s plans to approve the bill fast. (Haberkorn, 4/10) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is also raising some policy questions – The CMS actuary is warning that the House’s SGR repeal-and-replacement bill will in the long run create the same shortfalls in Medicare physician payments that Congress thought it was remedying with H.R. 2. … [Spitalnic] warns that when the bill’s 5 percent annual bonuses in physician payments expire as scheduled in 2024, a major payment cut for most physicians would follow the next year. The payment structure would also be troublesome in years with high inflation, according to the actuary. By 2048, Medicare prices under the new system will actually be less than those called for under the SGR, Spitalnic wrote. (Haberkorn, 4/10) Conservative objections over spending are raising doubts over whether the U.S. Senate can quickly approve legislation fixing the Medicare physician payment system, in a possible setback for Republicans keen to show they can get things done. Some Senate conservatives are threatening to insist that the measure be fully paid for, after the House of Representatives passed a version of the “doc fix” bill two weeks ago that would expand the federal deficit. (Cornwell, 4/10) last_img read more

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