Thursday, April 30, 2009

Senate committee looks at Medicare bonus to encourage doctors to locate in rural areas

The Senate Finance Committee spent yesterday working on health care reform, and the outline of their meeting shows at least one significant proposal aimed at attracting more doctors to rural areas. Included in the outline is "a proposal to add a 5 percent bonus to Medicare payments for primary-care docs," Jacob Goldstein writes in The Wall Street Journal. "General surgeons who practice in rural areas where surgeons are scarce would also qualify."

While many applaud the committee's focus on easing the rural health care shortage, funding options for the program are more controversial. Goldstein notes that "one option would be 'an across-the-board reduction in payments for services under all other codes' — basically, cuts in other Medicare payments to docs." (Read more)

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