It appears to be business as usual on Capitol Hill this New Year's Eve. Once again, Congress has failed to fix the sustainable growth rate formula in the Medicare physician fee schedule. Unless at least a temporary "patch" is put in place to keep Medicare physician payment rates steady, physicians will experience a 27% cut starting January 1, 2013.
Year after year, Congress has elected to put a one-year patch in place to forestall these drastics cuts and very often negotiations over even a temporary fix go to the eleventh hour. While another temporary patch has been part of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Congress, no agreement has been reached yet on the cliff, so it appears that a "doc fix" may have fallen it by the wayside. However, according to rollcall.com, both Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus still believe a doc fix will be in any agreement ultimately reached on the fiscal cliff. Keep your fingers crossed for a Happy New Year.