Postponement of Medicare Pay Cut Is Stripped From The Jobs Bill
Physicians continue to hope for a reprieve from the proposed 21.2% Medicare pay cut scheduled to begin on March 1, as another legislative solution to the reimbursement crisis fizzled this week in a hyperpolarized Congress.
A jobs-creation bill, crafted by Senate Democrats and Republicans earlier this week, originally would have delayed the massive cut to October 1, but this provision and many others were stripped out within days as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shrank the bill’s cost from $85 billion to an estimated $15 billion.
Now Congress has only 2 weeks to pass legislation that would avert the 21.2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement. Organized medicine warns that if the cuts go through, physicians will turn away new Medicare patients or even drop out of the system instead of going broke on paltry fees. The average physician depends on Medicare for 31% of his or her revenue, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).As in the past, this does not mean that every service will be reduced. In fact, the E&M codes (99201-05 and 99211-15) which medical physicians use to code virtually every visit, has continued to climb in reimbursement by 3-5% yearly, while Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation (SMT) has continued to decline, year after year. (more…)