Medicare Physician Payments on the Agenda for State of the Union Address
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Friday, January 25, 2008
According to published reports, President Bush will reveal a proposal for changing the Medicare physician fee formula during his final State of the Union address on Monday.
Medicare trustees last year triggered a "Medicare funding warning," so President Bush is required by law to present a Medicare savings plan to Congress as part of the fiscal year 2009 budget. A warning is issued when trustees for two consecutive years predict that federal general fund revenue must be used to pay for 45 percent or more of total Medicare costs within seven years.
In late December President Bush signed into law a bill that postpones the scheduled fee cut to July 1, 2008, and extends SCHIP though March 2009. The legislation also increased Medicare payments to physicians by 0.5 percent during that period and extended several programs that provide higher Medicare reimbursement rates to rural health care providers and hospital laboratories.
These reports also state that President Bush's proposal could alter discussions among lawmakers on Medicare and other health-related issues. More information will be available on the AASM Web site after the State of the Union address.