Last December, Congress provided doctors, who were facing a 10.6% cut in Medicare reimbursement, with a stay of execution that expires on June 30. The House of Representative's rules prevented a longer extension. (In fact, Congress gave doctors a 0.5% reimbursement boost for the first six months of 2008).
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have warned Congress that unless a new extension is enacted by June 16, the wheels implementing the 10.6% cut on July 1 will be set in motion. While both parties want to create an 18 month extension of the status quo, there is disagreement over how to fund it. Therefore, it is likely that the cut will be implemented and then retroactively reversed by Congress. This eventuality, which has occurred a few times in the recent past, causes problems not only for doctors and Medicare payers but also for FEHB plans which pay thousands of claims secondary to Medicare.