Doctors push 'doc fix' in light of Medicare Advantage controversy

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“The CBO estimates that the cost to repeal the SGR is now less than half the cost projected at this time last year — Congress should act now, before this sale price ends," the AMA said Thursday. "At a time when members of the baby-boom generation are aging into Medicare at an average rate of 10,000 each day, we cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Doctors are scheduled to take a 27 percent cut to their Medicare payments at the end of the year, but Congress will likely delay that cut. It has only swelled to 27 percent because Congress has blocked every scheduled cut, causing the total reduction to snowball.

The AMA wants lawmakers to break the cycle of short-term patches and replace the payment formula that calls for them.

The issue is getting renewed attention now because of separate cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. In proposing a 2.2 cut to Medicare Advantage, the Medicare agency assumed the cuts to doctors would take place — as called for in the law, but unlikely in reality.

Insurers and members of Congress have called on the agency to assume another short-term "doc fix," which would help minimize the Medicare Advantage cut.

The AMA said a permanent doc fix is a better solution.

“The AMA agrees that the Medicare Advantage cuts are another consequence of Congress’ inaction to eliminate this failed formula and replace it with a system that works for patients and physicians,' the group said.