January 7, 2013
On January 1, 2013 both the Senate (89-8) and the House of Representatives (257-167) passed H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This legislation most notably avoids the across-the-board tax increases that were set to take effect January 1, 2013. However, H.R. 8 also blocks a scheduled 27 percent cut in reimbursements for Medicare physicians for one year. This patch will be paid for by cuts and adjustments to other provider payments.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of this one year patch will be $25.1 billion over 10 years and the Medicare offsets and other provisions would reduce spending by $25.7 billion over the same time period. In previous years, Congress has attempted to work on the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and pass a permanent doc fix, but have not been able to agree on a solution. As a result they have instead relied on a series of temporary patches.
In order to help pay for the one year SGR freeze, Congress approved increasing Medicare’s equipment utilization assumption for advanced imaging services from 75 percent to 90 percent effective with the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS).
Health related provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act:
Additionally, the American Taxpayer Relief Act:
Attached below is a summary of health offsets contained in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.