Published on November 8, 2012 at 3:13 AM
National Journal: It's B-a-a-ck!
Elections can change everything on Capitol Hill. In the next few weeks, the process of members and their staffs packing up and moving out, or moving into better (or worse) offices, begins. But for all the adjustments ahead, there's one health policy issue that will neither change nor go away easily: the so-called doc fix, a multibillion-dollar Medicare headache that has been around for the past six election cycles. …Thankfully, when it comes to the doc fix, Democrats and Republicans actually agree on something: Congress should get rid of this flawed payment system. If only it were that easy. The challenge? How to pay for it. The 1997 formula was originally intended to constrain health care costs: If spending for a given year exceeded the ceiling, doctors' reimbursements under Medicare were automatically cut. But Congress regularly overrides the pay reduction. And as doctors get further and further away from the goal each year, it gets more and more expensive to delay the cut (McCarthy, 11/7).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.