Physicians Face Annual Threat of Medicare Payment Cuts

Should Congress not act before Jan. 1, physicians could face a 27 percent cut in fees for treating Medicare patients, the Associated Press reports.

The reduction is the result of a 1990s budget law that failed to control spending but was never repealed, the news agency said. Congress passes a temporary fix every year, only to grow the size of reductions required next time around. The super committee’s breakdown leaves the so-called “doc fix” unresolved with time running out.

Congress has the option of a one-year or two-year remedy. They either must find $22 billion in offsets for the one-year option or $35 billion for the two-year option. A permanent solution would cost some $300 billion over a decade, AP reports. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., told AP the Medicare fix is too important not to get done before the end of the year.

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