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Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 in Health care, Legislation

Once More With Feeling: Dealing With the Impending Cut to Medicare Reimbursement

Once More With Feeling: Dealing With the Impending Cut to Medicare Reimbursement

470px-Damocles-WestallPC20080120-8842A.jpgThe intriguing “Do Nothing” option for reducing the country’s $15-trillion deficit ostensibly includes a passive stance toward a looming cut to physicians’ Medicare reimbursement on January 1. The ever-escalating SGR-defined cut, which has been stayed numerous times by Congress over the years, now exceeds a practice-killing 27%. Primary care physician Don Klitgaard in Iowa, interviewed by the Associated Press, predicts along with the rest of us that “there’s going to be a temporary fix, because the health care system is going to implode without it.” But an unidentified “senior Washington lobbyist” warns, “It’s entirely possible given past performance that Congress misses the deadline.” Compromise solutions are reportedly being entertained; they are painful, but not necessarily draconian, for physicians.

SGR = sustainable growth rate.

Image of Westall’s Sword of Damocles (1812) from Wikipedia. Meh: not a perfect analogy but close enough.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.