The CMS said Medicare's physician reimbursement will be cut 4.3% in 2006, an amount that had been more or less anticipated. Medicare spending on physician services rose 15% in 2004 because of greater use of office visits, minor procedures, high-end imaging scans, laboratory services and in-office prescription drugs, the agency said in a letter explaining the cut to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The American Medical Association again called on lawmakers to revise the current Medicare formula for establishing physician reimbursement and said the reimbursement cut would threaten seniors' access to care. The CMS also said beneficiaries' monthly premiums for physician office visits in 2006 may be $1.50 higher than the $87.70 estimated earlier this month, but that savings to seniors from the new drug benefit would offset the increase. -- by Tony Fong
Medicare's doc fees to fall 4.3% in 2006, CMS says
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