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March 31, 2015

Time’s Up for ‘Doc Fix’

Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors have been a problem for years. Some doctors refuse to take Medicare (or Medicaid). And each year, Congress passes a temporary patch to keep from cutting those reimbursement rates even lower. The House last week passed a more permanent fix. It will add to the deficit and generally doesn’t actually fix the problem. But rather than iron out the details, the Senate went on vacation. “Full payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients run out on April 1, but the Obama administration has a two-week grace period before it would actually have to begin cutting payments, giving Congress a short window next month to fix the problem before earning the ire of physicians nationwide,” The Washington Times reports. “The House has acted, passing a bill that would permanently ensure full payments. But senators skipped town early Friday morning for a two-week spring break without taking action on the bill, leaving the doctors in limbo.” Either way, the people really paying for the action (or inaction) of Congress are Medicare patients.

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