Catching up, this is from last Thursday:
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz voted in support of legislation today that will ensure fair and adequate payment for physicians who participate in Medicare. Ensuring fair reimbursement for doctors who accept Medicare is vital to protecting access to doctors for seniors and people with disabilities.
The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009, which passed 243 to 183, prevents a scheduled 21 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians that would take place at the end of 2009 if Congress does not act.
“As we work to strengthen Medicare, this legislation is a critical component. Our plan permanently reforms the way Medicare pays physicians by repealing a 21 percent pay cut that is both unreasonable and unsustainable,” Schwartz said. “These cuts would lead to significant challenges with seniors being able to access health services. It is imperative that we take a long-term approach to reforming the physician payment formula so that health care providers and their patients will not have to worry about these cuts every year.”
H.R. 3691 replaces the 21 percent cut with a 1.2 percent increase for next year; replaces the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with more realistic and reliable spending targets; promotes access to primary care providers by providing higher growth allowance for primary care services; and integrates care so that doctors can communicate better about the care they provide.
This legislation will also help protect access for our men and women in uniform and their families since physician payment rates in TRICARE are tied to those used by Medicare.