Waiting for 'doc fix' becoming an unpleasant holiday tradition

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Last year around the holidays, doctors were looking at a Medicare pay cut of about 20 percent, The Washington Post reminisces in an article, calling the "doc fix" a recurring symbol of the government's budget dysfunction. This time, unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors face a 27 percent cut in their fees for treating Medicare patients. The main options before Congress now include a one-year or two-year fix with respective price tags of $22 billion and $35 billion. A permanent fix would cost about $300 billion over 10 years and is expected to soar higher the longer it takes to implement. According to former Medicare Administrator Mark McClellan, the solution, however elusive, is an overhaul of Medicare's payment system so that doctors are rewarded for providing quality, cost-effective care. In the meantime, the threat of payment cuts has become a holiday tradition, McClellan said. "It's just not a very enjoyable one." --Read the full article from The Washington Post

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