By Alberthe Bernier, Esq. – Before the House adjourned for a two-week recess, representatives passed legislation overhauling the outdated method for paying physicians who accept Medicare. Physicians and seniors across America are breathing a sigh of relief, as the bill ensures access to better healthcare services and professionals, many of which quit treating Medicare patients altogether due to the dysfunctional Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR) implemented in 1997.
Here are the highlights of the bill:
- The legislation replaces the current model of paying physicians based on the services provided (also known as ‘fee-for-service’) to value or outcome based payment (‘fee-for-value’);
- The popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health care coverage for low-income children was extended for another two years; and
- The bill requires seniors who make more than $133,500 to pay more for Medicare coverage starting in 2018.
Although the bill will add $141 billion to deficit over a decade, the bill promotes higher quality of care for Medicare patients and long-term sustainability of the Medicare program. The House passed the bill in an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 392-37. Now the U.S. Senate must pass the bill when Congress reconvenes April 13.
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