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The Nation : Uniform Medicare Fees to Be Proposed

A uniform fee structure for doctors who treat Medicare patients will be proposed today by a commission established by Congress to curb the skyrocketing costs of the program, the Washington Post reported. Under the plan proposed by the Physician Payment Review Commission, Medicare would set basic national fees for each of 7,000 different services it pays for, the newspaper said. The basic fee for any given service would be the same everywhere, but there would be local adjustments to reflect regional differences in overhead and liability premiums. The commission said also that doctors should be barred from billing a Medicare patient for a large fee in excess of the amount approved by Medicare, called “balance billing.” Balance billing would be limited to 30% or less for non-poor patients and forbidden if patients are so poor that Medicaid, a welfare program, is paying their Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-insurance.


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