Bill would block payments to MDs late on taxes

A new federal measure--sure to take some heat from lobbying groups--would allow Medicare to withhold payments from physicians and other providers who haven't paid federal taxes. The proposal follows a federal investigation which concluded that 21,000 providers owed $1.3 billion in back taxes just for the first nine months of 2005. Meanwhile, these providers were still receiving Medicare payments. The bill was introduced by Sens. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Carl Levin (D-MI), who are ranking member and chairman, respectively, of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The new bill would require CMS to participate in the Federal Payment Levy Program, which would hold back payments from providers until delinquent taxes are paid.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Associated Press piece