Physicians Seek Action on Medicare Payment Rates
Lobbyists for physicians are concerned that Congress will not repeal a scheduled reduction in Medicare payments to doctors during the lame-duck session, The Hill reports.
Prior to the elections, the American Medical Association and other physician groups unsuccessfully pressed Congress to pass legislation that would repeal the scheduled reduction and increase payments. The groups plan to continue to lobby for an increase and have scheduled meetings with Republican staff this week.
However, if they do not succeed in passing legislation during the lame-duck session, they "will have to contend with uncertainty about how the new Democratic majority will deal with what doctors view as an urgent problem," The Hill reports.
Seventy-three percent of AMA campaign donations during the election went to Republican candidates. AMA gave $300,000 to outgoing House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chair Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), who "is considered to be the most active House Republican on doctor-payment reforms."
AMA this week plans to send more than 3,000 physicians to Washington to lobby lawmakers on behalf of the group and its allies. Opponents of the cut maintain that the reduced payment would lead to fewer physicians accepting Medicare beneficiaries as patients. House Republicans have drafted a proposal that would delay the cut for a few months, "thereby leaving the Democrats with the responsibility for finding offsets to finance a longer-term solution," according to The Hill.
However, AMA has said that it wants payments to be increased, rather than maintained at current levels (Young, The Hill, 11/15).