Congress could fund $233 billion of the 10-year cost of overhauling the Medicare physician payment program through a series of cuts to the seniors' health program, according to draft recommendations (PDF) posted online by the staff of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
MedPAC lists cuts to save $233 billion
The proposed Medicare cuts, on which the panel has not yet voted, came in addition to Medicare-only savings that could fund a "doc fix" that MedPAC discussed last week. Those ideas included a freeze on the reimbursement rate for primary-care services and cutting payments to specialists by 5.9% each year for three years.
Such steps aim to avoid a 29.4% cut in Medicare payments to providers that is scheduled to take effect in January under the current sustainable growth-rate formula.
The suggested cuts posted Tuesday by MedPAC staff included $75 billion in estimated 10-year savings from requiring drugmakers to provide Medicaid-type rebates for dual-eligible beneficiaries. Other savings include $23 billion from rebasing skilled-nursing facilities and $14 billion from both limiting the hospital update to 1% in 2012 and implementing documentation and coding improvements.
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