Medicare fix woud increase payments to doctors

Without the change, payments to doctors under Medicare were scheduled to receive a 21.3 percent cut in June. Under the deal crafted by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the payment will increase by 1.3 percent through the end of the year.

The tax extenders bill is expected to be considered by the House Rules Committee Thursday and on the House floor Friday, according to an e-mail from Pelosi aide Wendell Primus obtained by The Hill.

The “doc fix” provision is still being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, but will cost less than the $88.5 billion cushion the House can use to pass legislation without offsets under pay-go rules.

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Physicians would get an additional 1 percent increase in 2011, and further increases would be offered in 2012 and 2013 based on the growth in Medicare health spending.

The legislation guarantees that physicians will not see a cut in those years.

Primary care doctors would see higher payment boosts, a priority of the new healthcare law.

After 2013, the payment formula would revert to the current system, meaning physicians would once again face drastic cuts unless Congress acts again in the future.