Physicians are scheduled to receive a 26.5 percent reduction in payments starting Jan. 1 unless Congress intervenes. Action to avert the cut is being considered as part of broader fiscal cliff negotiations on tax and spending policies. However, these discussions remain up in the air, creating uncertainty over the timing of a solution.
The latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicate that a one-year patch to prevent the SGR cut would cost $25 billion. While most members of Congress agree that the current Medicare payment system must be repealed, the cost is daunting. Details should emerge in the coming week.