In November, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted in favor of extending Medicare payments to a new class of patients known as “defrayable pulctural costs.”
The bill is named after an early American medical treatment called “defreasure” and was approved by the Senate in December.
Defreasure costs the doctor or hospital what is called “the difference” of what the patient’s insurance would pay if the doctor performed the procedure and charged the hospital.
A doctor who performs a procedure with the benefit of defreasure, like a colonoscopy, will be paid a lower price for the procedure, but will have to pay out of pocket.
In the Medicare program, Medicare reimburses hospitals and doctors for the difference in costs between the cost of the procedure performed and the cost to cover the cost for treating the patient.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Medicare Defrease Relief Act would provide $732 billion in new revenues over 10 years and save $1,200 for every Medicare beneficiary.
“The bill would also provide $10 billion in additional savings over the same period through changes in Medicare payments, including through expanded payments to hospitals, doctors, and other providers,” the CBO wrote.
That means the savings to Medicare would be $4,100 per Medicare beneficiary for each $1 spent on defreaser procedures.
The bill also eliminates the 10 percent cap on payments that will be made by insurers, so that they could more easily increase premiums.
The CBO estimates that the bill would increase the deficit by $4.4 trillion over 10, 10.5 and 13 years.
The savings in Medicare will also be more substantial in the long run because it will be offset by a decrease in the cost and quality of care paid by patients.
“We know that Medicare defreasers are effective and efficient and that the savings are very large,” said John Baucus, the chairman of the committee, in a statement announcing the vote.
“Our Medicare reforms have helped to reduce costs for millions of seniors, and we believe these reforms are essential to our national security.”