Doctors & patients may be feeling the Medicare pinch - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/1/10

Doctors and patients may soon be feeling the recent Medicare pinch

Posted:

By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Your doctor may be getting a pay cut.  Starting Tuesday, the government will be paying Medicare providers 21% less.  March 1, 2010 was the deadline for congress to do something to prevent those cuts, but lawmakers couldn't do it and went home.  However, the doctors are not the only ones who are going to feel the pinch.

"That's going to threaten access for millions of Medicare patients," said James Rohack, M.D., with the American Medical Association.

The government uses an old formula to calculate Medicare payments.  Every year these payments end up in the red, but every year, congress votes in a quick fix.  This year, it's that "fix" that got caught up in the battle over health reform and it didn't happen.  The AMA says since many doctors already complain that Medicare is paying them too little, this will likely prompt more doctors to consider dropping Medicare patients altogether, or just not take on any new Medicare patients.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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