Saturday, April 4, 2015
The Barking Cat Visits the Medicare Price Fixing Scheme
“The word “bipartisan” is considered by many inside the Beltway to be one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a piece of legislation. That’s unfortunate, because too often bipartisanship means Republicans and Democrats supporting a bill that is all but certain to produce bad outcomes.
The latest example of such bipartisanship is the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACR). Passed Thursday by the House of Representatives, the bill would, among other things, remove the unworkable Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) from Medicare’s payment system.
It would replace it with a payment system that is even worse.
The SGR is a formula that is supposed to help control Medicare’s costs by limiting payments to physicians. Each year the SGR sets an expenditure target for the amount Medicare spends on physicians’ fees. If the amount that Medicare actually spends exceeds the expenditure target, then physicians’ fees are supposed to be cut the following year by an amount that brings Medicare spending back into line with expenditure targets.
Physician groups have rebelled at the prospect of such cuts, telling Congress they would have a harder time treating seniors on Medicare under such a payment regime. Wary of lots of angry seniors showing up at the ballot box, Congress has suspended the SGR 17 times since 2003. But the prospect of the SGR cuts has still caused many physicians to limit the number of Medicare patients they see.” - Retooling Medicare’s Price Fixing Scheme Will Hurt Sick People, The Federalist, 03/27/2015
Link to the entire article appears below: