Friday, the Senate — in a rare stroke of bipartisanship — voted by unanimous consent to reverse the 21 percent SGR cut and provide positive updates of 2.2 percent through November 2010. The legislation is fully paid for by offsets in other spending programs.
Unfortunately, though, the cut remains in effect and claims are being processed at reduced rates, because the House of Representatives has recessed for the weekend and won’t be back until Tuesday. At that time, I expect that the House will pass the Senate’s six-month reprieve and Medicare will make doctors “whole” for the period of time that the cut was in effect.
Not that any of this is a cause for celebration. In the meantime, claims still are being paid at reduced rates, creating havoc for physicians and patients. Kicking the can down the road for another six months doesn’t get us any closer to a permanent solution. It doesn’t lower the overall cost, now estimated at over $200 billion, to dig out of the SGR hole. It doesn’t provide the stability and reliability that physicians and patients need to view Medicare as a trusted partner. It does mean that we will be back again, this summer and fall, fighting to forestall another double-digit cut. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*