Health reform law used as temporary fix for Medicare doctor payments

Posted December, 8 2010 by arianne

Senate leaders have announced an agreement to tweak the new federal health reform law in order to offer a temporary fix to help keep Medicare doctors paid at their current rates for another year.

Under the Affordable Care Act, many people will be eligible for income-based tax credits to help them pay for their health insurance on the new insurance Exchanges.  However, if their income should increase throught the year, they may be expected to pay some of the money back.  Currently, the law says that individuals will never have to pay more than $250 back (or $400 for families).  The new Senate deal would raise these caps to between $300-$1,750 for an individual, and $600-$3,500 for a family, on a new income-based sliding-scale.

According to Politico, Democrats are under pressure to pass this fix during the lame-duck session because Republicans are already planning to use the next fix as a vehicle to tie to repeal efforts next year.  It is estimated that this change will affect about 200,000 Americans and will free up about $19 billion to prevent the 25% payment cut due to go into effect Jan. 1.

Read more on this at Politico, and the Associated Press.