House Republicans have introduced a legislative tax package that would stave off a looming 27.4% Medicare payment cut to physicians and provide a 1% payment update to doctors for the next 2 years.
Source: Modern Healthcare
That summary also noted that the bill, which is aimed primarily at extending a current payroll tax cut, will extend 4 Medicare-related policies that are set to expire. Those include maintaining the add-on payment increases for ground ambulance services and extending the Qualified Individual, or QI, program, which provides assistance to low-income seniors for their Medicare Part B premium. It would also extend the physician work geographic adjustment, and extend the outpatient therapy caps exceptions process. Absent congressional action, the therapy caps exceptions process is set to expire and Part B outpatient therapy services—provided by non-hospital providers—would be capped at $1,889 starting in 2012. A provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act of 2011 (PDF), as the House bill is called, would extend that process through December 2013.
The 2-year fix is the longest that Congress has approved since 2004, and is intended to give Congress some time to find a permanent solution to how doctors are paid through the Medicare program, according to a summary from the House Ways and Means Committee.