Congress on Thursday unveiled the much-anticipated bipartisan, bicameral "doc fix" bill, which would permanently repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula. Bills were introduced in both chambers on Thursday, and a vote is anticipated next week. Without a fix, physicians will face a 21.2% chop in payments beginning April 1.
The bipartisan nature of this deal—and the cautious optimism with which lawmakers are touting it—marks historic progress,although some questions still remain. Up until now, Congress has been unable to agree on a long-term solution to the much-hated SGR, passing 17 consecutive short-term fixes.
"It's a chance to get rid of Washington's most infamous budget gimmick," said House Speaker John Boehner, who negotiated the current deal with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The deal was originally reported to toss the SGR and reauthorize CHIP for two years at the cost of $213 billion, $70 billion of which would be directly paid for. Half of the offset would be paid for by deductibles and means-testing and half from provider cuts.
Notably, however, the legislation introduced on Thursday does not address CHIP. Legislators continue to wrangle over how to address the program, with Senate Democrats asking for a four-year extension.
Here are the biggest stories in the healthcare industry this week:
Healthcare security expert Dave Kennedy told Reuters that this is the largest breach to date involving medical information.
...especially should the hospital file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
New Census data revealed that the wages of female physicians and surgeons accounted for just 69% of men's earnings in 2013.
The MA attorney general says the deal will raise costs without benefiting consumers.
The association says the vast majority of erroneous claims in testing had nothing to do with the new code set.
And here's the tweets we were reading:
The ‘doc fix’ might actually get fixed. Why? Because everybody hates it: http://t.co/KBUXYIEbFU— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) March 18, 2015
Remember the talking point about ACA cancelling about 5 or 6 million health plans? It's actually less than 1 million: http://t.co/Go9clh3vC8— Sy Mukherjee (@the_sy_guy) March 17, 2015
Reid is pushign the 4 year CHIP extension hard in the #SGR deal.— Joanne Kenen (@JoanneKenen) March 17, 2015
If every healthcare "not for profit" was subject to this test (executive pay, public benefit, increasing reserves), most would fail— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) March 18, 2015