House Unveils HR 574
Yet another so-called doc-fix bill has been introduced in the House. Essentially the bill is the same — the usual blather about streamlining Medicare payments to physicians, and such. But, there supposedly is a silver lining that could presage passage: the overall cost to taxpayers to remedy onerous reimbursement rate cuts via SGR repeal could be slashed by almost 50 percent.
The CBO downgraded the cost of repealing the flawed formula from $243.7 billion to $138.3 billion. That significantly lightened the load for lawmakers who agree that they’ve got to scrap the formula but have been gridlocked for years over how to pay for it. Without a permanent solution, they frantically search for a last-minute, short-term “doc fix” year after year.
Although there is enough money in the general Medicare trust fund to pay ever-increasing bills for a projected decade or so, the onset of reform represents uncharted territory in a healthcare economy that currently rests at 17 percent of GDP. The current SGR formula will have to be repealed, and quickly. | LINK