Congress is on the verge of permanently solving a problem it created for itself 18 years ago.
The House expects to pass a major health care reform bill Thursday that would solve a recurring headache: a flawed formula for Medicare payments for doctors. For years, Congress has passed short-term patches—17 in all—temporarily fixing the problem just before doctors were slated to see their reimbursements drop suddenly.
Now, ahead of an April 1 deadline that would slice the Medicare payment rate by 21 percent, House leaders have struck a compromise that would permanently resolve the issue, roughly splitting the costs between beneficiaries and providers. The deal has garnered support from both progressive budget groups and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
“It’s time we did this,” says House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers. “We’ve been crutching along on one cane for all these years and finally we’re facing up to the responsibility of getting…
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