Congress Passes Legislation to Delay Medicare Physician Pay Cuts; Extends SCHIP Funding

December 20, 2007

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Congress has passed legislation S 249 to replace the scheduled 10.1-percent cut of Medicare physician reimbursement with a 0.5-percent increase for the next six months. Health and Human Services Secretary, Mike Leavitt, says that the President is expected to sign this bill into law. Without this action, physicians would have received a 10.1-percent pay cut on January 1, 2008, which will now be delayed until the end of June, 2008. Congress will have that time to deliberate alternatives to the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which determines physician reimbursement under Medicare. The Academy will continue to advocate for the replacement of the SGR formula with one based on actual costs of practice. Avoiding further Medicare physician pay cuts will remain the top federal legislative priority for the Academy.

The Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 also extends State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funding through March 31, 2009. Under the provisions in the bill, states will receive enough funding to maintain their current enrollment levels.

In addition, this legislation authorizes a 1.5-percent reporting bonus for participation in the 2008 Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).

For more information, contact Mike Amery at mamery@aan.com or (202) 349-4299.

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