Obama Administration Asks Congress for Medicare “Doc Fix”

President Obama asks Congress to fix Medicare reimbursements so physicians receive fair compensation.  President Barack Obama has called on Congress to enact a patch on Medicare payments to physicians and declared his commitment to achieving a long-term solution. “For years, I have said that a system where doctors are left to wonder if they’ll get fairly reimbursed makes absolutely no sense,” the President said.  “And I’m committed to permanently reforming this Medicare formula in a way that balances fiscal responsibility with the responsibility we have to doctors and seniors.”  The President’s statement came after legislation that would give physicians 18 months of pay raises stalled in the Senate.  Instead, a 21 percent pay cut will go into effect unless the Senate acts to prevent that.

According to an American Medical Association survey, approximately 20 percent of physicians have said they are limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat because of the reimbursement levels.  In his speech, President Obama took to task Congressional Republicans who have stalled the legislation.  A significant number of Republicans – and some Democrats – are unhappy with the price tag on the “physician fix”, which would cost approximately $22 billion over 18 months.  A 10-year fix would cost in the neighborhood of $200 billion.

The American Osteopathic Association, American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians are on record as supporting the amendment, even though it doesn’t completely restructure the way physicians are reimbursed by Medicare.

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