Instead of revising the critical, but terribly mis-managed Medicare system, every year congress has passed stop-gap legislation that PREVENTS automatic cuts in payments to Medicare Doctors.  These cuts were congress’ brainchild to reign in Medicare expenditures.  And every year congress has chosen to ignore them.

Actually, not allowing the cuts is a good thing.  The compensation provided to Medicare Doctors is woefully inadequate and trimming another 21% from doctor payments is a terribly bad idea.

The issue here is NOT whether the automatic cuts should be eliminated – they should.  The problem is the “Doctor Fix” is handled as separate legislation and these health-care costs are NOT being included in the budgets of either the House or Senate version of the government-run health care plan.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to boost Medicare payments to physicians in a move that could help shore up support from doctors for a sweeping Democratic-backed healthcare overhaul.

The House voted 243-183 for the bill that would stop a 21 percent Medicare pay cut for doctors next year and put in place an updated payment formula that would better reward primary care physicians and reflect the sharp increase in healthcare costs.

Democratic backers said the pay boost was necessary to ensure that the elderly enrolled in the government’s Medicare healthcare program did not lose access to doctors.

Republican opponents called it a payoff to an influential doctors’ group to ensure its continued support for healthcare reform. They objected to the bill because Democratic leaders did not include any measures to pay for the $210 billion 10-year cost of the legislation.

“This is nothing more than a political payoff to the American Medical Association,” Republican Representative Joe Barton said.

The 250,000-member AMA linked the payment formula update to its support for healthcare reform passed by the House on November 7. The group argued that passing the Medicare bill would be a good show of faith by Congress that it was prepared to honor any new commitments made in the overhaul.

Read Reuters full story.