|[November 28, 2012]
Fitch: Fiscal Cliff May Slash Medicare Payments to Physicians
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
Unless averted by Congress and the Administration, the automatic
spending cuts included in the so-called "fiscal cliff" would reduce the
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement rates for
physicians by 27%, according to an estimate by the Congressional Budget
Office. If implemented, Fitch believes these cuts would have a
significant negative effect on most of the U.S. healthcare industry and
a particularly large impact on hospitals with large employed physician
bases. In addition, these cuts could have unintended consequences, such
as decreased physician access for Medicare patients.
Payments to physicians are subject to a sustainable growth rate formula
used by CMS to calculate healthcare spending and bring it in line with
budgeted expenditure over time. However, since 2003, Congress has
deferred action on proposed annual rate reductions.
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