The House Version of the Health-Care Legislation

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Comprehensive health-care legislation approved by three House committees include changes to the Medicare program for 45 million elderly and disabled people. The bills:

-- Extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by five years.

-- Waive all co-payments on preventive services.

-- Provide 50 percent discounts on brand-name prescriptions in the coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole." Eliminate the gap entirely within 12 years.

-- Eliminate 14 percent in "overpayments" to Medicare Advantage plans over 10-year period; pay $10 billion in bonuses to high-quality plans.

-- Increase reimbursements to primary-care doctors, general practitioners and psychiatrists by 5 percent.

-- Reduce payments to skilled-nursing homes and rehabilitation centers by $15 billion over the next decade.

-- Pay medical professionals for counseling patients about end-of-life options.

-- Reduce payments to providers that have patients with high hospital readmission rates.

-- Grant biologic therapies 12 to 14 years of market protection before a generic version can seek Food and Drug Administration approval.

-- Cancel a proposed 21 percent cut in physician reimbursements, estimated to cost $228 billion over 10 years.

SOURCE: Congressional Budget Office, House Ways and Means Committee, Kaiser Family Foundation

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