Blog | Wednesday, November 10, 2010

QD: News Every Day--Lame duck Congress likely to trip over SGR cuts

Congress is facing pressure to take up another temporary patch to expected Medicare reimbursement cuts. First, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Association of American Medical Colleges that the best way to support Medicare would be to prevent the cuts. Then, the American Medical Association is running a publicity campaign that will urge Congress to pass a 13-month fix. Just six months ago, the AMA vowed only a permanent fix was appropriate. Congress is unlikely to make any headway when it reconvenes next week for one week. (Health and Human Services, AMerican Medical Association, The Hill, Modern Healthcare)

Meanwhile, one-fifth of smaller employers (10-499 employees) are looking to jettison health care plans once state exchanges come online, reporting the consulting firm Mercer. This is compared to 6% of companies with more than 500 employees and 3% of companies with more than 10,000 employees. Meanwhile, the government continues to grant waivers to encourage companies to keep their plans. This still doesn't look like the end of private insurance, survey authors noted. Four years after Massachusetts created universal coverage, enrollment in employer plans grew. Uninsured rates for non-elderly adults fell to 4.8%, a record low. (Mercer, New York Times, Health Affairs)