This week, physicians are set to receive a 21 percent pay cut under Medicare, because Congress was unable to pass a so-called “doc fix” legislation to defer the scheduled cuts.
Back in 1997, lawmakers established a new formula to limit the growth of doctors Medicare payments to contain the cost of the program. Since then, Congress has typically voted to avoid the cuts from actually going into place, passing temporary extensions. During the health care debate, House Democrats initially sought to include a long-term “doc fix,” but it would have added to the cost of the ObamaCare and produced a Congressional Budget Office score showing a deficit. So Democrats put off dealing with the doctors’ payments issue, and right now Republicans are insisting on spending offsets.
The cuts will officially go into place tomorrow.
For more background on the issue — and an argument for why government shouldn’t be setting doctors’ pay in the first place — check out John Graham.