Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would give physicians a 1.5% Medicare pay increase for the next two years. The bill also would ask the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to develop an alternative to the current "sustainable growth rate" formula used to set physician pay while protecting beneficiaries from having to pay increased costs. Without change, physicians can expect six straight years of Medicare cuts, even as their costs are projected to rise 15%, according to the American Medical Association. An AMA spokeswoman said the association was reviewing Stark's bill. "The (budget) reconciliation process could impact new legislation, and we are working with Congress to avert steep Medicare physician payment cuts," she said. Currently, the Senate's budget reconciliation package includes a one-year, 1% Medicare increase for physicians. The House package doesn't address the issue. -- by Matthew DoBias
Stark introduces bill to raise Medicare doc pay
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