Price tag of bipartisan bill averting Medicare doc fee cuts
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bipartisan bill preventing cuts in doctors’ fees for treating Medicare patients would total $214 billion in costs over the coming decade. Highlights of the CBO analysis (in rounded numbers):
—$175 billion, voids 1997 law that has repeatedly threatened cuts in physicians’ fees and replaces it with new way to pay them.
—$6 billion, continues higher funding levels for Children’s Health Insurance program for next two years.
—$6 billion, extends expiring Medicare payments, including to some hospitals, doctors and ambulance services.
—$27 billion, extends or makes permanent other health programs including aid for some low-income people to pay Medicare premiums, health centers, diabetes research.
PAID FOR BY
—$141 billion, higher deficits.
—$34 billion, higher Medicare medical and prescription drug premiums for highest-earning beneficiaries starting in 2018 and increasing number of people paying those higher premiums.
—$1 billion, increases out-of-pocket costs for people buying Medigap policies, which cover expenses not covered by Medicare and increasing Treasury Department levies on Medicare payments to providers who owe back taxes.
—$15 billion, limits payment increases to nursing home and other long-term care providers.
—$15 billion, slows increased Medicare payments to hospitals.
—$4 billion, curbs payments to hospitals that treat large numbers of low-income people.
—$3 billion, makes permanent a program providing Medicaid payments to poor families as they get jobs.