Medicare in 2012: Doomsday or Delay?

Side Note: Same story, different year. Unless Congress acts quickly, physicians will face a dramatic 29.5% Medicare reimbursement pay cut on January 1, 2012. Such a reduction in Medicare payments would greatly impact care not only for senior citizens, but also for military families (through TRICARE). This, combined with the growing number of aging Baby Boomers and the growing physician shortage, could spell disaster for those over 65 and the physicians (still) willing to treat them.

The new pay rate is based on Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Many medical organizations and physicians have been saying for a long time that the formula is flawed and leads to instability and unpredictability and that it impacts physician practices adversely. More specifically, the rate links reimbursement rates to changes in the gross domestic product. The rate is determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Such cuts in the Medicare reimbursement rates have been getting postponed since 2003. Subsequently, the cuts have been ballooning in size. President Obama’s 2012 budget calls for freezing the current Medicare pay rates and delaying the cuts yet again, until 2014. No big surprise. Rather than delaying and delaying, why doesn’t the government just revise the Medicare pay structure and be done with it?

While physicians may not have any control over the Medicare reimbursement rate, they do have some control over their professional liability rates. At MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com we have access to all of the major med mal liability companies in the US and they are competing for your business.

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Physicians Face 29.5% Medicare Pay Cut in 2012
From Medscape Medical News
Robert Lowes

March 10, 2011 — Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians will decrease by 29.5% on January 1, 2012, unless Congress once again acts to postpone what organized medicine likens to doomsday.

Leaders of the American Medical Association and other medical societies have warned that such a huge pay cut would force physicians to turn away not only seniors but also military families whose TRICARE coverage is based on Medicare rates.

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