Among other things, the bill freezes the rates for Medicare physician payments until April 30, preventing a 21.2% cut from taking place. Medical organizations, however, want Congress to come up with a longer-term solution to Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula, which is based on the health of the economy and has been threatening cuts to physician payments for the past eight years.
Federal health insurance premium subsidies under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, also known as COBRA, would also be extended temporarily until the end of April.
If approved and signed by the president, this latest temporary measure buys Congress more time to negotiate a longer-term benefit extensions bill, which was approved by the Senate last week.
The longer-term fix costs $138 billion and would stave off Medicare payment cuts to doctors until Oct. 1 as well as extend COBRA premium subsidies and unemployment insurance benefits until the end of the year. The House and Senate are expected to conference on this bill.
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.