Medical Device Daily Washington Editor
WASHINGTON – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and MedPAC have put a lot of effort into reining in CMS Part B spending, but the medical lobby has managed frequently to counter those efforts over the past several years.
Doctors routinely complain that the impending reduction to Part B payments, slated to cut outlays by more than 5% next year, will cripple access and drive doctors out of Medicare.
However, in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on health on July 25, 2006, MedPAC’s executive director, Mark Miller, PhD, stated that Part B outlays nearly doubled, from $31.6 billion to $57.8 trillion between 1996 and 2005.
And despite the many red flags hoisted by doctors about beneficiary access, “83% [of beneficiaries] reported that they never experienced a delay” in getting appointments with doctors, a rate that was “higher than the 75% reported for privately insured people aged 50 to 64,” Miller said.
He also noted that the summer 2005 survey indicated that “nearly all physicians are willing to serve Medicare beneficiaries.”
Still, if the rhetoric coming from Capitol Hill is any indication, Medicare fee-for-service practices have little to worry about. Several Republican members of the House have all but taken oaths to roll back the cuts in what is certain to be a very desperate election season for the GOP.