The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday that the bipartisan bill preventing cuts in doctors' fees for treating Medicare patients would total $214 billion in costs over the coming decade. Highlights of the CBO analysis (in rounded numbers):
—$175 billion, voids 1997 law that has repeatedly threatened cuts in physicians' fees and replaces it with new way to pay them.
—$6 billion, continues higher funding levels for Children's Health Insurance program for next two years.
—$6 billion, extends expiring Medicare payments, including to some hospitals, doctors and ambulance services
—$27 billion, extends or makes permanent other health programs including aid for some low-income people to pay Medicare premiums, health centers, diabetes research.
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—$141 billion, higher deficits.
—$34 billion, higher Medicare medical and prescription drug premiums for highest-earning beneficiaries starting in 2018 and increasing number of people paying those higher premiums.
—$1 billion, increases out-of-pocket costs for people buying Medigap policies, which cover expenses not covered by Medicare and increasing Treasury Department levies on Medicare payments to providers who owe back taxes.
—$15 billion, limits payment increases to nursing home and other long-term care providers.
—$15 billion, slows increased Medicare payments to hospitals.
—$4 billion, curbs payments to hospitals that treat large numbers of low-income people.
—$3 billion, makes permanent a program providing Medicaid payments to poor families as they get jobs.