NCPA: Medicare "Doc Fix" Doesn't Solve The Problem

Government Fee Caps an Ineffective Tool to Limit Physician Fees

DALLAS, TX -  Congress will solve none of the fundamental Medicare cost problems with the "Doc Fix" extension, according to a new National Center for Policy Analysis report.

The House is preparing to vote on a temporary reversal of the 21-percent cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates, a measure passed earlier by the Senate.

"The physician rate cuts, with or without this temporary fix, will make it increasingly difficult for seniors to find doctors who accept Medicare patients," said report author and Pacific Research Institute Director of Health Care Studies John R. Graham.  "Unfortunately, every time Congress temporarily fixes the fee schedule, the gap between fees calculated using the sustainable growth rate and where Congress actually sets them grows wider.  As a result, future cuts in fees will need to be more drastic."

Graham, an NCPA senior fellow, proposes several solutions to the Medicare fee crisis in the new analysis.  He concludes, "The fundamental problem with Medicare's fees is not the level at which the government fixes them, but that the government fixes them at all."


Editors Note: Contact Catherine Daniell to schedule an interview on the doc fix analysis.

The NCPA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization headquartered in Dallas with offices in Washington, D.C.  The NCPA depends solely on the contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations that advocate private sector solutions to public policy problems.  All contributions are tax-deductible, and the NCPA accepts no government grants or contracts.


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