Efforts are in play to stop a 10 percent Medicare physician fee cut scheduled for Jan. 1, 2008. According to Mary Agnes Carey, Associate Editor of CQ Health Beat, the Senate Finance Committee likely will mark up a Medicare package in early December, and the package is expected to stop the scheduled fee cuts for one or two years. The cost for stopping these fee cuts for two years is estimated at $20 billion. The physician payment fix may likely be financed by payment cuts to other Medicare providers, such as Medicare Advantage plans. If time is too short to move on a stand-alone Medicare bill, the fee fix could be combined with other legislation, such as a temporary extension of funding for SCHIP, or it could be part of an end-of-the-year omnibus package (see Carey, “Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ“).
About Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.