White House Expresses Support For Congressional Doc Fix Efforts

The White House has lent its support to congressional efforts to overhaul Medicare’s problematic physician payment system. In its fiscal 2015 budget plan released March 4, the White House said it “supports a period of payment stability lasting several years to allow time for the continued development” of alterna­tive payment models—key features of doc fix legislation under consideration in the House and Senate.

 “The Administration applauds the bipartisan re­form efforts in the Congress and is committed to working with the Congress to continue progress toward reforming Medicare physician payments to provide predictable payments that incentiv­ize quality and efficiency in a fiscally responsible way,” the budget blueprint said. Similar language was included in last year’s budget blueprint.

The House and Senate have produced a bipartisan proposal for repealing Medicare’s current physician payment system. The legislation,approved in December by House and Senate committees, would replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which determines annual updates to payment rates for doctors services in Medicare.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the congressional proposal would cost $138 billion from 2014 to 2024. Lawmakers have yet to say how they would pay for it. Physicians’ Medicare pay will be cut about 24 percent at the end of the month unless Congress acts, either by passing a permanent or short-term pay fix