Congress approves temporary doc fix measure; AMA still unhappy

Despite Congress's ability to finally put its stamp of approval on a Medicare pay fix for doctors Thursday night, albeit one that expires at the end of November, the American Medical Association continues to voice its displeasure with the handling of this ongoing issue. 

The 6-month fix, which will reverse a 21.3 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for doctors and will instead increase the reimbursement rate by 2.2 percent, passed the House of Representatives by a 417-1 vote, and was signed by President Barack Obama early Friday. Claims to be processed retroactive to June 1 will be done so on a "first in/first out basis," reports Medscape Today, which cited the AMA. 

In a released statement, Cecil B. Wilson, MD, President of the AMA, blasted Congress for once again failing to come up with a permanent solution. He called the constant temporary fixes "a dangerous game of Russian roulette," and pointed out that such actions only mean increased cuts down the line and more doctors limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat. 

"In December, the Medicare physician payment cut will be a whopping 23 percent, increasing to nearly 30 percent in January," Wilson said. "The baby boomers begin entering Medicare in six months, and if the physician payment problem isn't fixed, these new Medicare patients won't be able to find a doctor to treat them." 

For more information:
- read this Medscape Today piece
- read this Associated Press article
- check out this New York Times article
- read Wilson's full statement