The Coming Doctor "Cliff"

Posted: Nov 30, 2012 8:33 AM

As Congress continues to try and work out a deal with an unreasonable White House to prevent going over the fiscal cliff, doctors are facing even bigger problems. New ObamaCare taxes kick in on January 1 no matter what happens with the fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling and $500 billion has already been cut from Medicare to pay for the legislation. Doctors are begging for Washington to reform the Medicare system rather than come up with short term solutions that aren't really solutions at all. More from POLITICO:

Not only do doctors face a 2 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements because of the failure — thus far — to avoid sequestration, but they’re also looking at a 27 percent reduction in pay in the absence of a deal to fix the Medicare payment formula.

They’re also worried that, so far, the elements of a possible Medicare fiscal cliff deal — as — suggest that even more provider cuts are on the way.

“Blunt cuts are not reform,” said Rich Umbdenstock, CEO of the American Hospital Association. “We’ve got to reform the health care system and cuts on top of cuts are not going to help. They’re just going to shift cuts once again.”

Gail Wilensky, who led Medicare and Medicaid for President George H.W. Bush, warned that “having this looming out year after year … must really wear on physicians who are actively involved in Medicare wondering what they’re doing being involved in, for them, such an unstable program.”

“All that’s being publicly discussed is reducing payments under the same dysfunctional payment system,” she added.

The solutions under consideration by Congress, the panelists warned, would simply shift costs and apply blunt cuts to a system crying out for reform.


So far, Medicare reform is off the table in fiscal cliff negotiations.