Our colleague Meghan McCarthy reports (for members) on how stakeholders are gearing up for a lame-duck fight over the doc fix:
Members of Congress are familiar with the headache known as the "doc fix"; they have regularly been putting off pay cuts to Medicare doctors under the flawed "sustainable growth rate" formula for the past decade. But the added workload at the end of this year makes the challenge of staving off a 30 percent Medicare pay cut in 2013 all the more difficult. ...
"I don't see any kind of permanent fix under any circumstances," said Julius Hobson, a lobbyist for Polsinelli Shughart who used to run the American Medical Association's lobbying shop, in an interview. "It is all temporary fixes to get it into next year, if we can even get that. What happens if we have the same gridlock we have now? That's a formula for doing nothing."
The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems is so concerned about the lame-duck period that they've decided to get their constituents pounding doors in person on the Hill this December.
"We've already booked hotels," said Shawn Gremminger, NAPH assistant vice president, in an interview. "We don't usually do post-election fly-ins, but this is one of those cases where we think it's worth doing it."
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