House, Senate Budget Deal Lacks Provision To Avert Medicare Pay Cuts
Congressional leaders on Tuesday reached a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown in the fall, but the deal does not include an adjustment or repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula, Modern Healthcare reports (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 7/31).
The agreement would extend government funding at $1.047 trillion -- the top-line level for 2012 -- for six months after current funding expires on Oct. 1 (Wasson, The Hill, 7/31).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) -- who announced the agreement along with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- said that a fix for the SGR is not included in the agreement. Medicare hospital supplemental payment extensions also are not included.
Reid's announcement comes after a new Congressional Budget Office report found that the SGR formula will require a 27% cut to physician payments in 2013. The report analyzes several options for offsetting the cut, which could cost between $15.3 billion and $376.6 billion.
The lowest-cost option would feature short-term increases to Medicare physician reimbursements, followed by payment reductions of between 22% and 26%. The most-costly option would replace, restructure or reset the SGR, according to Modern Healthcare (Modern Healthcare, 7/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.