Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has introduced legislation that would provide a one-year extension for Medicare physician payment rates.
Called the Assuring Medicare Stability and Access for Seniors Act of 2012 (PDF), the bill is intended to provide payment certainty throughout 2013 as lawmakers develop a long-term Medicare physician payment program that is different from the current sustainable growth-rate formula.
For years, Congress has provided temporary relief just before steep payment cuts are scheduled to take effect. This year, for instance, lawmakers included a short-term fix in a payroll tax bill that resulted in staving off a 27.4% cut to doctors. But they’ll have to revisit the issue before December 31, or otherwise physicians will see their Medicare payments cut by about 30%.
“I have never seen so much progress made on this issue than this year, but Congress must have more time to work with stakeholders on crafting a permanent replacement,” Burgess, a physician, said in a statement. “While this legislation will provide a one-year extension, Congress must continue to work towards a permanent fix that will solve the issue once and for all, and this bill provides that time.”
The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
Source: Modern Healthcare, July 22, 2012