Congress gets extension to work on failed formula

Congress gets extension to work on failed formulaCongress has time to make a better model for payment done to doctors as it now has a year's extension on Medicare reimbursement cuts.

But it has been warned by Dr Thomas Huber, president of the South Dakota State Medical Association, that even if Congress does an eventual fix, it might not be popular with everyone.

Huber said, "I think it will be scrutinized like it should be, and some will be perceived to be the winners, and some others won't. But whatever comes out of this, I think, will be better than what this is. We don't expect it to be perfect."

The 25 per cent cut meant to Medicare reimbursement payments to doctors was scheduled and legislation was passed by Congress in mid-December that causes a delay for a year in this cut.

Huber added that we can not hope for anything better than this currently.

In 1997 a formula for sustainable growth rate was carved out by Congress and the problem with Medicare reimbursement is a result of that formula. In order to calculate reimbursement rates for doctors, Medicare uses the formula. Economy and health care costs are used as a base by the formula.

To already low reimbursement rates to doctors, within four years, the formula began calling for cuts.

Huber said that now with the extension, Congress will again make an attempt to make things better when it comes to the failed formula.

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