Quote of the day:
Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears. - Robert W. Sarnoff
Congress knew in advance that GWB would intervene prior to the new session of congress, by executive order. GWB ordered that the 10% medicare fee reductions be suspended. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt also took administrative action to place a hold on changes as well.
"WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled 10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.
Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts, patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration's delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before leaving town.
Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as usual, he said.
Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and beneficiaries." On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts."
It seems that outrage expressed byAARP and the projections by physicians that this could be a near final blow to the economiic survival of providers, both large and small.
It seems an opportune time for physicians to group together other high priority items for the upcoming new congressional session.