The Medicare reform bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would increase spending for physician and other services by nearly $20 billion over five years and $62.8 billion over the next decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.
However, taking into account the offsets created by payment reductions primarily to Medicare Advantage Plans, the bill would actually reduce spending by $5 million over the next 10 years, according to the CBO.
A CBO estimate on an alternative bill from ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) found that his bill would be deficit-neutral over five, and even 10 years. Grassley in a written statement said that unlike the majoritys bill, his bill would not make large, unwarranted cuts to Medicare Advantage, or make other unnecessary payment reductions. Both bills would phase out double payments for indirect medical education made to Medicare Advantage Plans and hospitals.
Baucus also announced that he would be adding language to the bill that would delay implementation of a demonstration program employing competitive bidding for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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