Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has introduced legislation that would provide a one-year extension for Medicare physician payment rates.
Called the Assuring Medicare Stability and Access for Seniors Act of 2012 (PDF), the bill is intended to provide payment certainty throughout 2013 as lawmakers develop a long-term Medicare physician payment program that is different from the current sustainable growth-rate formula. For years, Congress has provided temporary relief just before steep payment cuts are scheduled to take effect. This year, for instance, lawmakers included a short-term fix in a payroll tax bill that resulted in staving off a 27.4% cut to doctors. But they'll have to revisit the issue before Dec. 31, or otherwise physicians will see their Medicare payments cut by about 30%.