Medicare Actuary: $141 Billion Medicare Doc Fix Bill Won’t Fix It For Long

A potential longer-term fix to a costly annual Medicare problem is actually not that permanent, according to a report from a federal actuary.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Chief Medicare Actuary, the top authority on the program, has issued a report charging that a House-passed bill to amend Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate — a schedule that reduces physicians’ payments for Medicare customers annually — won’t be a permanent fix at all.

The SGR may officially reduce physician payments each year, but Congress annually passes “doc fix” legislation to avert the cuts to ensure that doctors don’t stop seeing Medicare patients altogether. The House of Representatives passed a longer-term fix several weeks ago with Democratic support, as some Republicans balked because cost increases were not fully offset with spending cuts.