KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Doctors Face Deep Medicare Pay Reductions

Without congressional intervention, physicians will face a 27.4 percent Medicare pay cut on Jan. 1. This reduction is slightly smaller than the earlier estimate of 29.5 percent.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Back On The Brink: Doctors Again Face Steep Medicare Cuts Unless Congress Acts Before Jan. 1
It's become a regular exercise in budget brinksmanship. Medicare is again warning that doctors face draconian pay cuts on Jan. 1 unless Congress acts. Officials said Tuesday it works out to a 27.4 percent cut (11/1).

Modern Healthcare: Doc Pay Cut Revised Down To 27.4 Percent
Physicians will face a slightly smaller but still massive cut in their Medicare payment rates under a revised schedule the administration issued Tuesday for the fees it plans to pay starting in 2012. An across-the-board Medicare payment reduction of 27.4 percent is expected, according to the new fee schedule, which is slightly less than the 29.5 percent cut the administration had previously anticipated. The cuts are mandated under the program's cost-control funding formula established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Daly, 11/1).

CQ HealthBeat: Physician Payment Formula Cut Slightly Less Than Expected
Medicare payments to doctors will be reduced by 27.4 percent in 2012 under a final rule released late Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s a slight decrease from the 29.5 percent reduction federal officials had predicted earlier this year. CMS projects that it will pay out $80 billion in 2012 under the Medicare physician fee schedule, which establishes payment levels for more than one million Medicare health care providers, including doctors, podiatrists, nurse practitioners and physical therapists (Reichard, 11/1).

Meanwhile, in other news —

Reuters: HHS Says To Further Delay Sunshine Act Rules
U.S. health officials said on Monday they were further delaying rules that would force drugmakers and device companies to report all payments and gifts to doctors. The Physician Payment Sunshine Act became part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul last year, and requires manufacturers to report all payments to doctors above $10, and pay penalties if they fail to do so (11/1).

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