Thomas Responds to AMA Demands on Medicare Provider Payments
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) on Wednesday said that if the American Medical Association does not agree to a proposed pay-for-performance Medicare reimbursement system, Congress might not reverse a scheduled reimbursement cut to doctors, CongressDaily reports (Heil, CongressDaily, 12/8).
AMA Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Maves on Monday sent a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan saying that the group would oppose efforts to adopt a pay-for-performance Medicare reimbursement system unless Congress acts to permanently reverse a scheduled 4.3% reduction in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The Senate has approved a 1% physician reimbursement increase next year to replace the scheduled payment cut, but the House has not passed such legislation.
The Senate also has approved a program under which Medicare payments to doctors would be tied to quality improvements, a move that would reduce Medicare costs by an estimated $4.5 billion over five years (California Healthline, 12/7).
According to Thomas, the AMA's insistence on the payment increase before accepting a pay-for-performance system could force the increase to be dropped during a House-Senate conference on the budget bill (CongressDaily, 12/8).