Will Medicare Package Be Added?

The legislation that could thwart middle-class U.S. citizens from paying the alternative minimum tax was moved to the House floor recently and did not contain any of the Medicare provisions that would hold up the scheduled 10% fee cut for physicians. Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus had said that, “Medicare probably has to go with AMT” as the measure is “very bipartisan”. However, the House made the conclusion to move along with the AMT measure derailing one of the best options for a Medicare package and increases the possibility that the Medicare physician fee cut will take effect Jan. 1, 2008.

Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel weren’t able to reach any agreement on the Medicare package. According to Senator Max Baucus, funding the Medicare physician fee fix would be “very difficult” without any cuts to Medicare Advantage plans. While the Bush administration has threatened to veto any legislation that decreases payments to Medicare Advantage plans, Baucus is seeking suggestions from White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton on how stern President Bush is about vetoing a Medicare package that contains planned cuts for MA. According to Senator Baucus, a Medicare package that doesn’t include any cuts to Medicare Advantage plans would definitely add a lot of pressure to the providers.

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