Medicare physicians to get better pays

Recently Congress approved of a bill which will repair the way in which Medicare physicians’ pays would be improved. Such a step marked an achievement on their part and occurred just in time before a 21% cut in doctors pays could go ahead.

The final decision was taken with the Senate voting 92-8 for the approval of this bill. The bill is now with the President who is expected to sign the bill into a law.

This measure which was drafted a few months ago by John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker and Nancy Pelosi the Democratic Minority Leader is seen as being the first success of 2015-2016 Congress. President Obama too applauded the policy makers for the passing of the bill and stated that such a measure would help in strengthening the healthcare system in the US. He stated that he would proudly sign this bill into law.

The bill would be replacing the 1990’s formula which linked to Medicare doctors pay with economic growth with a formula which is more focused on the kind of care and quality which is provided. It would also consist of means testing within which those Medicare beneficiaries earning higher incomes would be expected to pay higher premiums.

Medicare is a health insurance which provides its services to almost 54% of people in America who are disabled or the elderly. It is considered as being one of the largest social safety programs of the government. The reason behind why the old formula applied by Medicare to pay doctors has been causing problems is because health care costs have risen higher then economic growth. While Congress had constantly addressed the problem and offered temporary fixes, the new formula is now considered to be one which will be long lasting.

Congress had been warned by the federal government to act before the 21% pay cut to be faced by Medicare doctors which exist under the previous reimbursement formula.

The measure was passed by the House in an overwhelming manner however because of its characteristic of expanding the federal deficit, the Senate was still skeptical regarding it. The bill was labeled by them as being irresponsible as it would add to US debt an approximate amount of $141 billion over the next 10 years.

The legislation contains a 2 year extension to the CHIP i.e. the Children’s Health Insurance Program which is meant for low income children along with an extension of 2 years for the funding of community health centers. The Democrats found both of these to be of high priority and had been trying for them to be extended for the past 4 years however their amendments had constantly failed.

Senate faced a great deal of pressure from healthcare groups to approve this measure. The House too urged Senate to approve the bill and to pass on it as the former had no intention of moving ahead without any amendments being made to it by Senate. The bill was ultimately approved by Senate as well leading to a new formula now in place.


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