Medicare puts docs in limbo

Jim Foody, MD
http://www.chicagotribune.com

I am a physician dedicated to my patients, but my practice is also my living. No business can survive long if our vendors do not pay their bills.

On Tuesday, July 15, Medicare is required to pay us for services provided since the first of this month. On that date, Medicare will also cut payments for those same services by 10.6 percent, which would be devastating to my practice. Congress has passed bipartisan, legislation, H.R. 6331, to halt the cut, but President Bush‘s spokesperson says he’ll veto it. If he does, Congress may be able to override, but that is no sure thing.

In the meantime, physicians are caught in limbo. Either Medicare will cut our payments by 10.6 percent, starting on Tuesday, or Medicare will pay us nothing at all for care we’ve already delivered while waiting for Washington to act.

We need our lawmakers to tell President Bush to sign this bill by Tuesday, or they need to immediately vote to override. I pay my taxes to Washington on time, is it too much to ask Washington to pay us what it owes?

Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune

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