How Shifts In Washington Will Affect Physicians In 2015

Chris Emper | Medical Practice Insider | December 26, 2014

As a result of November’s elections, come January, Republicans will take control of the Senate and increase their majority in the House to levels we haven’t seen since before FDR took office. Given this shift in power and the sharp differences between the two parties, many have spent the past month wondering how this change will impact healthcare and the programs, policies, and regulations currently in place.

Although back-and-forth discussions on Capitol Hill around healthcare issues are certain to occur, the effects of these debates may not be as immediate as some may think. In fact, for physicians, 2015 will likely be more about the importance of watching Congress and keeping up with how the decisions they make this year will affect the future of small practices.

The healthcare agenda Congress will tackle in 2015 falls into three distinct categories:  things they have to do, things they want to do, and things they may be forced to do.  The “Have-To’s” — There are several issues that the legislature must address this year. First up, early next year they must decide what to do about the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The current SGR “doc fix” is set to expire at the end of March, and if Congress does not take action, physicians would see their Medicare payments cut by about 25 percent...