Medicare labs protest proposed tax on services

Here's another idea on how to scrape together more money to fund health reform--one which hasn't shown up on your editor's radar until now. 

A new Senate Finance Committee proposal would increase taxes on labs that perform Medicare services, an effort which, as currently structured, would raise $750 million a year to pay for reform efforts. The tax would probably be an annual assessment based on lab revenue.

Of course, lab companies are far from pleased by this idea. The American Clinical Laboratory Association is arguing that the proposed tax "unfairly targets the clinical laboratory industry among providers," effectively imposing Medicare cuts far larger than other providers might endure.

The group also notes that Medicare spending has not kept up with inflation, contending that overall Medicare payments for clinical lab services have been cut by about 40 percent between 1984 and 2004 in inflation-adjusted terms.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this ACLA press release (.pdf)