Providers decry $2 billion loss in therapy caps deal

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Parkinson: Market basket freeze will have “dramatic” effect.
Parkinson: Market basket freeze will have “dramatic” effect.

Providers knew that elimination of Medicare Part B therapy caps would likely come with significant side costs, but nobody wanted them this high.

A 0.3% reduction in the projected Medicare market basket update starting in October will be part of a $1.96 billion cut in planned future reimbursements over the next 10 years.

It's similar to the spring of 2015, when the Sustainable Growth Rate was ditched with a permanent “doc fix” for Medicare physicians. That measure removed the annual threat of a 21% funding cut for doctors but also cost long-term care providers a one-time hit of hundreds of millions of dollars due to a restricted market basket update.

Providers at that time sounded much more willing to take one for the team than they did last month.

“An across-the-board cut like the one included in this bill would have a dramatic effect on our nation's most vulnerable citizens,” said American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson.

The market basket increase will be frozen at 2.4% — below the Congressional Budget Office's previously projected 2.7% hike, noted AHCA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Clifton Porter. He said “deteriorating [operating] margins” were leading to “a clear problem.”