Proposals to pay for 'doc fix' law are making long-term care providers nervous

Much of last week's historic bill that created new payment rates for Medicare doctors was left unfunded by lawmakers, and now GOP budget hawks are presenting ideas that provoke anxiety in the sector.

As McKnight's had reported, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 made provisions to partially pay about $60 billion of the $200 billion plan with beneficiary and provider givebacks. One proposal was to require Congress to pay for the entire package, but 12 Republicans joined with all Democrats to defeat it 58-42. Only the House version of the bill included funding provisions.

On Tuesday, two ranking Senate Republicans, Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Politico they hope to use current past-deadline federal fiscal budget talks to muscle about $140 billion in program cuts (or “offsets”) over the coming decade to make up the difference. About $14 billion would be made over the coming year.

Meanwhile, the American Health Care Association joined other groups this week expressing its concern over Trade Adjustment Assistance changes that would extend Medicare cuts.