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Controversial Provision of "Doctor Fix" Bill Would Improve Medicare and Help Keep Bill Deficit-Neutral

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Publication Date: July 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Keywords: Income diversity; Health care costs; Economic projections

Type: Brief

Abstract:

When the Senate returns from its July 4th recess, it is expected to reconsider the Medicare “doctor fix” bill that failed to advance last month, largely due to objections from the Administration and many Senate Republicans to a provision concerning Medicare Advantage.
The provision would not cut payment rates to “private fee for service” (PFFS) plans, contrary to some misleading claims. The provision would:
-narrow the unjustified competitive advantage that PFFS plans have over other Medicare Advantage plans by requiring PFFS plans to establish provider networks and collect health care quality data, as other Medicare Advantage plans already must do, and
-generate some savings to help cover the cost of the “doctor fix” bill, which averts the scheduled reduction in Medicare physician fees and makes long-overdue improvements to help low-income Medicare beneficiaries afford health care.