The House of Representatives passed HR 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, sparing Medicare physicians a pay cut of nearly 30 percent. Previously approved by the Senate, the package contained other health provisions that may be of interest to you.
The New Year’s Day legislation also:
- Extends the Geographic Work Adjustment (1.0 floor) through Dec. 31, 2013
- Defers sequestration cuts for two months (2 percent cut in Medicare payments and larger program cuts for other health programs)
- Creates pathways to improve the provision of relevant and timely data to physicians in new delivery and payment models
- Allows physician participation in clinical registries to meet Medicare quality reporting requirements
- Provides one-year reauthorization of funding for National Quality Forum
While physicians avoided a pay cut, hospitals were not so fortunate. In order to keep doctors’ Medicare pay steady, congress took money from hospitals, some pharmacies and dialysis centers. Subsidies to safety net hospitals were also reduced.
"While fixing the physician payment formula is essential, it should not be done by jeopardizing hospitals' ability to care for seniors and their communities," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said. "That's why we are very disappointed at the approach taken in this measure."
The U.S. Congress has much work ahead. Paramount for physicians is permanent replacement of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which has repeatedly over the last decade threatened the viability of physician practices and forced Medicare physicians to work under a shadow of uncertainty.
Tell Indiana’s senators and your congressional representative how the threat from the SGR impacts you and your practice – year after year. Help them understand how your patients depend on the Medicare program.
Find out how to contact Indiana senators and representatives on the ISMA website. Or, call the Government Relations staff at (800) 257-4762 or (317) 261-2060.
|Culmulative contribution of aging and excess cost growth* to Medicare spending under alternative scenario, 2013-2035, Office of the Chief Actuary
|* Excess cost growth refers to health care costs growing more than the economy as a whole.
Note: Analysis assumes that physician payment rates increase at 1% per year from 2013-2035, and does not reflect the 0% update in the AmericanTaxpayers Relief Act of 2012.