Doc fix or red herring?

It’s been a while since I’ve seen news on the doc fix. And I didn’t remember it being time for the usual dance. So I was surprised to see this in the news:

Two House committees are claiming momentum for their effort to repeal and replace Medicare’s flawed physician payment formula, the sustainable growth rate (SGR).

The Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees on Friday released a more detailed version of their long-term “doc fix” proposal and requested stakeholder feedback by July 9.

“We remain committed to a deliberate and transparent process as we work to help our doctors, help our seniors and ensure we have a fair system with the best quality of care,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in statement.

The SGR is problematic because it requires intervention from Congress every year to stop a major pay cut to Medicare providers.

Fixing this is a great idea. Of course, it will cost a lot of money. But I wonder if the slow health care spending growth of the last few years would make the projected cost of a fix look cheaper. If so, it might be a great time to try and get this done. That said, passing anything these days with a 12 digit price tag seems unlikely.

@aaronecarroll

UPDATE: Austin tells me that the CBO has confirmed the doc fix is now cheaper, and that this information has been in the news in the last few weeks. Mea cupla.

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