Health reform plan won't fix Medicare physician payment system

June 19, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said that current reform efforts will not likely include a permanent fix to the Medicare fee-for-service physician payment system.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana), an active healthcare reform legislator, admitted last month during a conference call for a political physician group that current reform efforts will not likely include a permanent fix to the Medicare fee-for-service physician payment system, but offered hope of a cost-savings sharing plan in several years.

"We'll fix [the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate], we'll patch it up each of these next three years," said Baucus, referring to the formula used to calculate physician fees, which called for a 10.6 percent cut last summer until Congress voted to delay it. "But after that, we're going to modify it and let some of the reduction in SGR naturally occur."