Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Cut Medical Worker Pay by $ 8.7 Billion

The bipartisan infrastructure bill would cut Medicare payments to health care providers by $ 8.7 billion, according to an estimate released Thursday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The bill proposes to cut Medicare payout rates by 4% during the first six months of 2031, in part to cover more than $ 500 billion in new costs for roads, bridges and other ground infrastructure.

The expansion has been fiercely opposed by hospital groups who argue that Medicare should not be cut to pay for unrelated infrastructure projects.

The cuts, known as sequestrations, have been operating since 2011 as a way to cut government spending. According to the infrastructure bill, it will expire in 2031.

Medicare cuts have been put on hold for the rest of the year due to COVID-19, but will resume next year.

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Has submitted an amendment to the infrastructure bill to reverse the expansion of cuts, but it is not clear if he will get the vote. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill in the coming days.

The Infrastructure Act will also delay the Trump-era Medicare rule, which prohibits pharmacy managers from withholding discounts paid by drug manufacturers under Part D. Delaying the rule would save about $ 50 billion, the CBO said.

Another provision in the infrastructure bill would require drug manufacturers to pay Medicare benefits for wasted drug units that are oversized, netting the government about $ 3 billion.

The bill would still increase the deficit by $ 256 billion.

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