Upcoming Fee Fix Would Mean Squeezing Hospital, Physician Payments

A two-year physician fee fix expected in President Obama's proposed budget would be financed by "squeezing" Medicare payments to physicians and hospitals and by expanding use of generic drugs in federal health programs, according to a report by the New York Times.

The president's budget, more of which will be released later today, would carve out $62 billion to postpone the scheduled 25 percent cut automatically determined by the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which would otherwise go into effect next in Jan. 2012. Congress passed a one-year fee fix in December. The AMA and other physician groups have been hoping for a permanent fee fix, which involves removal of the SGR.

To save more money, both Democrats and Republicans have said they are willing to discuss changes to federal entitlements, including Social Security well as Medicare and Medicaid, but neither side has released a detailed plan because they are "wary of the political risks," according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Read the New York Times report on the physician fee fix.

Read more coverage of the physician fee fix:

- Congress Passes One-Year Medicare Fee-Fix; President's Signature Expected

- House Almost Unanimously Passes Permanent Physician Fee-Fix

- Senate Approves One-Year Medicare Fee-Fix

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