The “Doc Fix” Is In: An Initial Assessment of Medicare’s New Rule over the Practice of Medicine

Policy Reports | Health

No. 386
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
by John R Graham

In March 2015, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress voted for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The so-called “doc fix,” a component of MACRA, was an attempt to fix the very flawed method Medicare uses to pay doctors and other health professionals. Unfortunately, MACRA is
fiscally irresponsible and increases the federal government’s control over how clinicians practice medicine:

It is not paid for. Less than 4 percent of the increased spending authorized by MACRA is offset by other government spending cuts, resulting in an estimated $141 billion increase in the accumulated deficit
over 10 years and $500 billion over 20 years, thus abandoning budget neutrality, a commitment previously made by both parties.

It significantly increases federal control of the practice of medicine. In line with the ambitions of Obamacare, clinicians will face increasing requirements to comply with federal regulations in order to get paid. These regulations will likely include greater reliance on government-certified Electronic Health Records, which have already proven to frustrate doctors and do nothing to benefit patient care, despite an
investment of $30 billion taxpayer dollars.

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