Medicare Doctor Pay 'Fix' Deadline Looming – Again
Side note: Doctors who see Medicare patients are once again facing the possibility of a large pay cut. For the third time this year, Congress must vote on whether or not to delay a 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians. At a time when doctors are facing rising costs due to expensive tests and equipment, administrative costs, and, not least, rising medical malpractice insurance premiums, the last thing they need is uncertainty in the Medicare system.
Many physicians are dealing with the issue by opting not to see Medicare patients. In the long run, this will make health care costs rise even faster, as these patients will not be getting the routine and preventative medical care they need. Med mal insurance rates could also increase because of this problem. If patients are not able to see a doctor when they initially need one, they may then require more care and riskier procedures by the time they are able to visit a physician. Routine medical care, such as keeping a diabetic’s blood sugar in check, is less risky and expensive than having to remove a limb which has been damaged by the disease, and is also much less of a medical liability risk.
By Julie Rovner
Call it Medicare’s version of Groundhog Day.
For the third time this year, Congress has just days to avert a scheduled 21 percent cut in pay to doctors who treat seniors and others on the Medicare program. And while just about everyone agrees a cut of that magnitude would be devastating for Medicare and the patients it serves, no one seems to be able to figure out how to solve the problem in anything except a stopgap way.
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