waiting for Congress to step in and save you from the 4.3
percent pay cut that awaits you in 2006, be aware that beneficiaries
are putting pressure too.
Association of Retired Persons CEO William Novelli wrote
to Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-NH) to warn
him against raising beneficiaries' premiums any further.
The April 19 letter notes that "Medicare providers
should be paid fairly, but each time reimbursement is increased,
beneficiaries shoulder 25 percent of the cost through their
budget ends up giving more money to physicians instead,
Novelli asks Gregg to bear in mind the potential effect
on beneficiaries. "Following last year's record-breaking
Part B premium increase, another sizable increase is already
expected, and these escalating premiums have created a serious
financial burden for beneficiaries," Novelli writes.
AARP wants Gregg to spare beneficiaries "from any new
costs associated with increased provider payments."
If Gregg agrees to this suggestion, taxpayers would shoulder
the entire increase for physician payments. So the net effect
of the AARP's pressure may be to make a rescue of physicians
pay less likely.