Rep. Thomas pressures CMS to help docs

Monday, May 31, 2004

WASHINGTON - Powerful House lawmakers are calling on CMS chief Mark McLellan to prevent major cuts to Medicare’s physician payments, according to a news report published by The Hill April 22.

With support from physician and medical-group associations, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., and Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., who chairs the panel’s health subcommittee, are seeking an administrative rather than legislative fix to preserve payments.

Thomas led the Congressional charge that resulted in passage of the $535 billion Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act.

“This is something that can be done without a congressional act,” AMA President Donald Palmisano told the Hill. “We certainly hope Dr. McClellan will fix these things.”

Given the gloomy outlook for Medicare, most doubt that any Medicare legislation will make its way through Congress this year.