Critics Pile On Flawed Medicare Doc Fix

The Boehner-Pelosi so-called Medicare “doc fix” is taking on water, despite (or because of?) overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.

Here’s David Hogberg at The Federalist:

……it replaces it with a new payments system that will cause the sickest Medicare patients to suffer the most. The bill’s new payment system is based on three Medicare programs: the “Physician Quality Reporting Program,” the “Value-Based Modifier,” and “Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records,” all of which are supposed to improve the quality of treatment for Medicare beneficiaries. None of these programs have demonstrated any quality improvements on their own, yet the MACR now seeks to lump them all into one program called the “Merit-Based Incentive Payment System” (MIPS).

And Howard Gleckman at Forbes:

…… the House’s doc fix is an amalgam of temporary solutions to a host of health policy issues, special interest subsidies, and a promise of better health care for seniors—but not for at least five years. It may improve the way Medicare reimburses docs for the services they provide, but it won’t fix the problem.

Under the House bill, Medicare payments to docs would rise by 0.5% in each of the next four years—a rate that is likely to be well below inflation. Then, payments would be frozen for the next six years. After that, physicians would get modest annual increases again. Want to bet on that structure holding up?

And Dr. Patrick Roughneen of Docs4PatientCare:

Not only is the bill extremely costly, but it is also flawed in its design. Doctors care deeply for patients and will continue to provide excellent service to them. Yet in order for doctors to be paid fairly for such services, H.R. 2 would require them to comply with burdensome checklists and documentation requirements in order to receive payment.

The Senate will have an opportunity to propose a real Medicare doc fix when it meets again on April 13.

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