US Senate scheduled to vote on physician Medicare payment bill beginning Monday, October 19.
** The ISSUE:
Medicare payment to physicians is set to be slashed 21.5% in January 1, 2010, with a cumulative total of 40% reduction in reimbursements planned over the next few years. This is due to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula put in place in 1999.
Fair payment is critically important to ensure access to care for our senior citizens and the disabled. Plus, Tricare has been using Medicare rates so the issue impacts our military as well.
Medicare cuts can prevent doctors from seeing new Medicare patients, discourage them from investing in health technology, and make many consider closing their practices altogether!
The formula must be repealed and replaced with a fair, stable system that better matches the cost of providing care. S 1776 is critical to help get us toward that goal.
Seems reasonable that a formula created 10 years ago may not reflect the cost of care today, just taking into account technological advances in medical care in that 10-yr period.
If S1776 does not pass, and Medicare participants begin having trouble finding doctors who will accept the reimbursement levels of Medicare, it might make some people want to move toward the new health care proposals.
Or it might make some people realize that the private insurance companies negotiating lower payment schedules is minor league compared to the govt negotiating lower payment schedules.
For those of us who are still fortunate enough to be employed, imagine taking a 20% pay cut starting January 2010. In the midst of rising costs for utilities, property taxes, and other daily commodities, such a pay cut would be a substantial one.