Wednesday, December 8, 2010 the Senate unanimously came to the conclusion to delay the Medicare 25% pay cut to physicians that care for seniors until next year. With expiations of the deal being approved by the House before the end of the year, this would protect doctors who care for Medicare beneficiaries from a massive pay cut and help control what was already predicted to be a tremendous hit to the federal health insurance program.
As this will come as a huge relief to many seniors throughout the United States, many advocates for the elderly and medical groups are pleased with their long efforts of lobbying Congress all year to keep these cuts from ever happening. Even our President chimed in with praise to the compromise, but continued to urge lawmakers to keep working on this matter until a permanent solution to Medicare’s payment system can be put in place.
Both sides of the aisle have repeatedly stated that they would find a permanent fix to the system that is used to pay doctors by Medicare, but it is also stated that this could cost as much as$300 billion to get a solution in place. In an already tough economy, this could be a daunting task as lawmakers feel the pressures of controlling federal spending. The two parties have yet to be able to come to a compromise on a way to reform Medicare’s payment system, even with the healthcare reform bill being signed in to law this past March.
As the fee cuts were designed in 1997 and were to be slowly introduced over many years to help control Medicare spending, the pressure from physicians and others have made it hard to implement the cuts and have allowed them to be delayed year after year. By delaying the pay cuts, the percentage has accumulated making it even harder to get the process started.
By delaying the cuts for another year, it is estimated that the cost will be around $19 billion. This cost is said to be offset by changing the subsidies to moderate income individuals that the federal government provides, beginning 2014. The recipients of these subsidies will have to pay back a portion of the monies received if their incomes increase.
If and when this deal is passed, this will add in another notch to a year filled with many changes to our healthcare system.
As for Medicare beneficiaries, making sure that you are covered from unwanted medical expenses left by just having Medicare is very important. As a resident of Texas we can help you with the understanding of Medicare Supplements in TX and other options that may be available. Contact an agent today at 1-866-849-5465 or fill out our safe and secure Texas Medicare Supplement Quote Form to receive your free, no-obligation side-by-side comparison of different Texas Medigap Insurance Plans.