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Doctors breathe a sigh of relief

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All settled—until November.

What looked like an impasse in Congress over the latest delay to physician fee cuts dissipated last week as the House of Representatives approved a six-month respite to the cuts.

The delay also gives doctors a 2.2-percent increase, on average, for the next six months.

But with Medicare, the largest chunk of revenue for many doctors, they’ll nervously wait to see what happens at the end of November.

If Congress had not acted, physicians would have sustained a 21.3-percent reduction to the payments they receive from Medicare, the government-run health benefits plan for seniors.

Some Indiana doctors said last week they would stop accepting Medicare patients right away if the cuts were not halted.

The cut was supposed to go into effect on June 1, but the agency that administers Medicare had not processed claims as it waited for Congress to act. The agency gave up waiting on June 21, the same day the Senate passed a new six-month delay.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked like she might not advance the bill through the House because she wanted to pair it with other relief for jobless workers. After a week of feuding, the House passed the Senate’s extension on Thursday night by a vote of 417-1.

The Medicare agency will now reprocess the bills it had paid at the reduced rates to give doctors more money for their services.

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  • Medicare payment problem still an issue
    Congress delayed the Medicare physician payment cut for six months, but the Medicare payment problem still exists, and a 23 percent cut looms for December. The six month fix doesnâ??t solve the Medicare mess Congress has created with a long series of short-term Medicare patches over the last decade â?? including four to avert the 2010 cut alone. Already, one in four Medicare patients looking for a new primary care physician are having trouble finding one. About one in five physicians are already limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat because of the instability and uncertainty of Medicare payment.
    The baby boomers begin entering Medicare in six months, and if the physician payment problem isnâ??t fixed, these new Medicare patients wonâ??t be able to find a doctor to treat them either. Congress must replace the broken Medicare system to preserve health care for seniors and baby boomers.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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