The co-chairman of the House GOP Doctors' Caucus said he is “pretty confident” that Congress will approve a one-year freeze in Medicare physician pay rates during the lame duck session of Congress. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) told reporters that the caucus has discussed a plan to push during the post-election session of Congress a one-year freeze in Medicare physician pay rates, which are slated for a 27.5% cut Jan. 1. “During the lame duck, there will be a patch,” he said. Gingrey said he believed Congress would find the $18 billion needed to offset the cost of a one-year payment freeze and suggested using savings from cutting programs included in a recently released annual report by physician Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on wasteful government spending. However, Gingrey rejected the use of savings from the end of the Iraq War—a funding solution long favored by Democrats—as “smoke and mirrors.” He said the one-year sustainable growth-rate patch would receive congressional approval during the lame duck session of Congress, regardless of whether legislators provide only a several-month freeze in other major spending cuts—as favored by some members of Congress. His caucus plans to focus next year on finding a replacement to the SGR and a way to pay the $300 billion cost of permanently replacing it. The plans for a lame duck SGR push followed AARP's joining provider groups last week in urging Congress to replace the SGR and to block the scheduled cut.
Late News: Gingrey 'pretty confident' of freeze in doc pay rates
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