Month: December 2011

Medicare fee schedule

House Republicans decided compromise was necessary and are extending the payroll tax cut for 2 months.  But more importantly, Congress is extending the Medicare physician fee schedule reductions as well. I believe most agree extending the payroll tax cut leaving extra money our pockets is good for the economy and good for us all.  I believe preventing the Medicare fee schedule has an even bigger impact.  With our massive debt and generally bad economic times, many argue reducing government spending is a good idea.  But cutting Medicare payments to physicians by 27% would have been disastrous for seniors and physicians alike.  Taking care of seniors is time consuming.  For many physicians, Medicare pays less than private commercial insurance.  Simply put, many primary care doctors would not be able to keep their practices open if these cuts went through.  This is not a scare tactic by some lobbying group.  As someone who runs a large physician network I can assure you these cuts, had they gone through, would have been a disaster for everyone.  

For whatever reason, and there are many, seniors, physicians, and hospitals go through this nightmare scenario each and every year.  Sometimes, with short term extensions like we just received from Congress for two months, we go through it more than once a year.  It needs to stop.  Congress needs to address this flawed formula.  I think most would agree there should be a way to tie the fee schedule to some form of modest growth but a reduction of the magnitude faced each and every year needs to end once and for all.

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