Tags: house | Medicare | payment | cuts | deal

House Leaders Looking for Deal to Halt Medicare Payment Cuts

Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 05:43 PM

Aides to top House Republicans and Democrats are hoping to negotiate a bipartisan compromise to permanently revamp a law that annually threatens cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, including a 21 percent reduction set to take effect April 1.

As part of the talks, bargainers are considering budget cuts that would offset part, but not all, of the measure's costs, according to lobbyists following the negotiations. The estimated 10-year price of repealing the annual Medicare cuts is roughly $175 billion.

The lobbyists said Wednesday that the package also could provide money for a children's health program that would otherwise run out of money Oct. 1. A four-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program would cost about $10 billion.

Congressional aides confirmed that talks are underway but declined to provide detail.

"We are all aware" of the approaching deadline, said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "Members and staff from both leadership and the committees are naturally discussing a range of options."

At issue is a formula, known as the sustainable growth rate, from a law that since 1997 has tried curbing spending on doctor's reimbursements under Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.

The lobbyists, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss information gathered from congressional staff, cautioned that the talks are continuing and that details could change.

The prospects for congressional passage of such a package would be unclear. Though there is bipartisan support for finally ending the annual fights over protecting doctors from Medicare cuts, the measure would have to get by conservative Republicans reluctant to drive up budget deficits.

Depending on what savings the package would impose, the measure could meet resistance from Democrats if it relies too heavily on reductions to Medicare beneficiaries.

Lawmakers have come close before to permanently dismantling the yearly Medicare cuts, only to fall short, usually because of disputes over how to pay for the legislation.

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Aides to top House Republicans and Democrats are hoping to negotiate a bipartisan compromise to permanently revamp a law that annually threatens cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, including a 21 percent reduction set to take effect April 1.As part of...
house, Medicare, payment, cuts, deal
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2015-43-11
Wednesday, 11 Mar 2015 05:43 PM
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