The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has estimated that in 2012 Medicare physician reimbursement will be cut by 29.5%.
When President Obama signed a bill in 2010 to postpone the scheduled 25% cut in Medicare reimbursement through 2011, physicians were aware that the pay cut would be greater than 25% come 2012. And, if CMS' estimate holds true, it will be.
Writing in a letter to the chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator of CMS' Center for Medicare, said that the "conversion factor" -- the dollar multiplier used to calculate physician payments under the current reimbursement system -- will be cut by an estimated 29.5% in 2012, from $33.98 to $23.94.
The cut is mandated by the sustainable growth rate (SGR), a formula that ties physician reimbursement to the gross domestic product; the SGR has called for cuts in pay every year since 2002. Every year since 2003, Congress has voted at the last minute to push those cuts down the road.