Groundhog Day for Medicare 'Doc Fix'

groundhog_day

Another year, another last-minute "doc fix" by Congress. Am I the only one starting to feel a little like Bill Murray in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day?

On March 31, just one day before Medicare payments to doctors would have been slashed by 24 percent, Congress approved a short-term patch to delay the payment cuts for another year.

This is the 17th time in 11 years that Congress has had to delay the Medicare reimbursement cuts created by SGR (the Sustainable Growth Rate formula), a doctor payment system created by Congress in 1997. The constant threats of large cuts have caused America's 50 million Medicare beneficiaries to worry that their doctors may no longer be able to see them.

While AARP is pleased that Congress passed a short-term fix last month, the bottom line is: Medicare patients and doctors shouldn't have to deal with this uncertainty so often.

It's time to find a long-term solution. Medicare beneficiaries need a stable, predictable reimbursement system that will encourage their doctors and providers to deliver high-quality care.

AARP supports a permanent repeal of SGR and a move toward a reimbursement system that promotes quality and value. AARP also believes any solution should be achieved without shifting costs onto beneficiaries through higher cost-sharing or reduced benefits.

Reports last month that congressional leaders were close to reaching a bipartisan compromise on a permanent fix were encouraging. While their failure is disappointing, AARP is hopeful these negotiations have laid the groundwork needed to reach a long-term solution before the short-term patch expires next year ... and we experience déjí  vu all over again.

Photo Copyright: Sony Pictures

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.