Hill staffers confident about doc fix deal
By: Brett Norman
October 25, 2013 04:03 PM EDT
Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats said Tuesday that a deal to stave off drastic cuts to physician payments under the Sustainable Growth Rate formula would be reached by year’s end.
Congress has made the “doc fix” for the past 10 years and will do so again this year, Josh Trent, health policy adviser to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), said at POLITICO’s Emerging Health Care Leaders event Tuesday morning.
Tony Clapsis, a Senate Finance Committee staffer, made a similar point, saying that the doc fix is one health care issue that both sides of the aisle agree must be dealt with.
Although there may be differences on how to pay for it, “we should be able to come to an agreement,” said James Paluskiewicz, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas).
The Sustainable Growth Rate, which Congress passed in 1997, was designed to curtail Medicare spending by cutting physician payments if the program’s costs exceeded a set amount.
But Congress has delayed the cuts since 2002. If legislators don’t find another fix this year, physician payments would be cut by about 27 percent. It would cost about $316 billion over the next 10 years to fix the problem for the long term.
This story is from a POLITICO Pro event held on Oct. 16, 2012. For more on POLITICO events, go to politico.com/events.
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