The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac) last week released its annual report to congress. In the report, Medpac recommends that Medicare payments to physicians and hospitals increased by 1% in FY 2012. Physician payments are scheduled to be cut by 29.5% on January 1, 2012 unless congress passes legislation to avert the cut.
Medical Liability Reform
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that lower medical liability premiums and reduced utilization due to less defensive medicine that result from H.R. 5, the HEALTH Act, would reduce national health spending by 0.4%. CBO estimates that the legislation would save $39 billion over a decade. Last year, CBO released a report saying that similar legislation would save $54 billion over the same time span. The legislation, which includes caps on noneconomic damages, has been approved by the House Judiciary committee. House leaders may allow the House Energy and Commerce committee to consider the legislation before spending it to the House floor for a vote or may decide bypass the committee in favor of a floor vote before a two-week recess at the end of April.