First “Doc Fix” Bill Out of the Gate

Faced with a proposed cut to Medicare fee-for-service rates—a whopping 27 percent come Jan. 1, per the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule—physicians have been waiting for a sign indicating Congress will override the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) methodology that calls for the cut, as they have since 2003.

Getting the ball rolling earlier than in years past, Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, (R-TX), introduced the Assuring Medicare Stability and Access for Seniors Act of 2012 on July 18.

This bill would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to extend Medicare physician payment rates for one year. The update to the single conversion factor would again be zero percent.

“By providing one more year of stability we make a critical, initial step towards ridding ourselves of this problematic and inadequate payment system,” said Burgess in a statement.

The bill, however, lacks payment offsets—a necessary component to move forward—and is viewed by some industry stakeholders as nothing more than a political placeholder, reports.

Burgess goes on to say that Congress is making progress on crafting a permanent replacement for the SGR. “Congress must continue to work towards a permanent fix that will solve the issue once and for all, and this bill provides that time,” Burgess said.


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3 Responses to “First “Doc Fix” Bill Out of the Gate”

  1. JoAnn Hayward says:

    To get a permanent solution, I would suggest immediately stopping all of Congress’s “special” medical/ health insurance & force them to only receive Medicare with all of it’s limitations and copays. Add to that, an equal percentage response, so whatever they vote to reduce physician’s payments by, there salary is reduced an equal percentage. Also, immediately abandon all of past, present & future Congressmen and Congresswomen retirement benefits. Physicians must fund their own retirement. Congress needs to do the same. It is just ridiculous for someone to get elected for a four year stint in Congress & then be entitled to retirement. None of the rest of the people of the US have such a sweet deal. Too bad, the people get NO vote or say so on how the members of Congress serve themselves at the cost of the rest of us. Then they won’t accept any responsibility, but blame it on the presiding president or opposite political party.

  2. Lynn Cochran says:

    I agree with JoAnn. It seems all Washington wants to do is to cut physicians fees
    while they seem to vote on big pay raises for themselves. Do they stop to consider that
    a physician spends many hours at his office, not only does he have to see the patient during the day but there are labs, x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI, EKG, ect. that have to be read and the results gotten back to the patients! Do they consider the insurance costs that the physician has to have because of other regulations that have been passed? Do they consider the cost of their education, that most are still paying on? Do they consider that when a patient has to be told you may only have a few months to live that it is the doctor who has to break this news to the patient and the patients’ family; this is not an easy task. Consider the cost of a place to practice, the employees needed to run the practice, the cost of the employees insurance now!!!! The supplies needed, Electronic Medical Records that are becoming the standard, and this is just some of the factors! If we consider all of this the doctors should be getting a raise to practice medicine instead of being cut even more.

  3. Donna Smith says:

    Medicare needs to start having a pre-authorization process, just like the HMOs, and STOP the fraudlent claims being put through the system!!! Don’t wait until someone commits millions of dollars of fraud which then forces the government to recoup the money from the legitimate physician who are trying practice medicine!

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