House leaders in talks over $200B Medicare deal

House leaders are discussing a deal that would permanently avert Medicare payment cuts to physicians and extend the Children's Health Insurance Program, according to The Hill.

U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the top two members of two key committees, confirmed a permanent fix is being discussed, according to the report.

The representatives said they're building on the work that was done to fix the "broken" sustainable growth rate formula last year. "We are now engaging in active discussions on a bipartisan basis — following up on the work done by leadership — to try to achieve an effective permanent resolution to the SGR problem, strengthen Medicare for our seniors, and extend the popular Children's Health Insurance Program," they said in a statement, according to The Hill.

Permanently fixing the SGR formula would cost about $174 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The deal also includes a two-year extension of CHIP, which brings the legislation's price tag to more than $200 billion.

The deal the House is closing in on would offset about $70 billion of the more than $200 billion total, according to the report.

If Congress doesn't act by the of the month, healthcare providers could see their Medicare payments reduced by an average of 21.1 percent on April 1, according to the final 2015 payment rules for Medicare from CMS.

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