Fix the Flawed Medicare Doc Fix
For over a decade, Congress has struggled with an inadequate formula to calculate Medicare payments to physicians. The formula results in an amount too low to ensure physicians will continue to see Medicare beneficiaries. At least once a year, Congress has to pass a short-term increase to Medicare physician payments to prevent fees dropping about 20 percent. The current boost expired on March 31, 2015, necessitating a rapid response. Three options are available to reduce the shortcomings of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and keep the door open to effective Medicare reform: 1. A two-year doc fix, paralleling the extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan in MACRA. 2. Including MACRA in the pay-as-you-go scorecards, requiring the president to pay for it with other funds. 3. Finding offsets to pay for the $141 billion in MACRA spending that is not yet offset.