Senate Attempts to Save Medicare Doctors from Pay Cuts
The Senate passed a measure that could temporarily eliminate a pay cut to physicians who treat patients participating in Medicare. The proposed "doc fix" is generating a lot of news converage. ABC news' Huma Khan, Z. Byron Wolf, Roger Sergel and Dan Childs report:
The Senate today passed a six-month extension of the so-called Medicare "doc fix" after Democrats agreed to a Republican requirement that the extension not add to the deficit. The Senate's late action only gets the bill a third of the way into law, but should enable the federal government to stall the payment cut. The measure is expected to be taken up in the House of Representatives Monday. Discussions in Congress on the payment cuts were stalled because of concerns about its impact on the budget deficit.
The measure is a response to the 21.3 percent pay cut that Congress imposed on doctors that treat Medicare patients. The cut to payments made to doctors and hospitals was meant to help Congress cut the amount spent on Medicare. There are over 43 million Americans on Medicare, making it one of the federal governments biggest expenses, accounting for 13 percent of its spending.
The measure would only postpone the pay cuts for six months, ideally giving lawmakers time to put a more permanent solution into effect.
Is cutting payment to doctors a real solution? If the Senate measure is not put into effect, will the pay cuts affect patient care? What are the other solutions that wouldn't involve cutting doctor payments? Could the pay cut affect access to Medicare in anyway? For more on Medicare services and statistics, click here.
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