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President Bush Expected To Announce Medicare Physician Fee Formula Proposal

Armen Hareyan's picture

Medicare Physician Fee Formula

PresidentBush likely will reveal his proposal for changing the Medicare physician feeformula during his State of the Union address on Monday, CongressDailyreports (CongressDaily, 1/22).

Bush for the first time is required by law to send a Medicare savings plan toCongress after he releases his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal becauseMedicare trustees last year triggered a "Medicare funding warning."The warning is issued when trustees for two consecutive years predict thatfederal general fund revenue must be used to pay for 45% or more of totalMedicare costs within seven years. Bush last month signed into law a bill thatdelays the fee cut through July 1 and extends SCHIP through March 2009. Thebill increased Medicare physician fees by 0.5% during that period and extendedseveral programs that provide higher Medicare reimbursement rates to ruralhealth care providers and hospital laboratories (Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport,1/17).

Lawmakers working on a Medicare package that would delay the physician fee cutare awaiting details of the proposal. According to CongressDaily,congressional aides and lobbyists say the plan "could significantly alterCapitol Hill discussions surrounding Medicare and other health-relatedissues" (CongressDaily, 1/22).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.