Congress Votes to Delay Medicare Cut; Christmas on December 25th
Not to anyone’s surprise (because it’s happened multiple times since 2003), Congress approved on Monday yet-another measure to postpone a big cut (this time, 23%) in Medicare reimbursement that would have gone into effect today. The bandaid bill extends the repeatedly delayed SGR-defined cut in Medicare reimbursement until January 1—which means that Congress will have to convene during the holidays to draft and pass yet-another bill that postpones the cut that is scheduled to begin on New Year’s Day, now calculated at 25%.* (The current bill awaits the President’s sig—which is a given.)
According to Robert Lowes at Medscape, longer-term fixes are in the works, which would extend the “Medicare guillotine,” as he calls it, about 12 months. The big trick is finding palatable ways to make up the huge cost of repeatedly (or indefinitely) extending the SGR-defined cuts or of repealing the formula entirely.
SGR = sustainable growth rate.
* Or Medicare will probably delay the processing of physicians’ submissions for reimbursement in January until Congress acts.
Photo of weathered can from magannie at Flickr.