/PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee started marking up the America's Healthy Future Act of 2009. The revised version of the bill circulated to the Committee deletes a special provider fee on laboratories and replaces it with an additional $5 billion cut in Medicare Part B payments to clinical laboratories.
The new version of the legislation does not specify how this latest reduction will be allocated. Mark Birenbaum, PhD, the Executive Director of the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA) and the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), says that "If this additional cut is not allocated properly, the reduction will put many community laboratories including those serving nursing home patients, out of business, and give large corporate laboratories that have a small percentage of Medicare Part B work a huge competitive advantage. These large corporate laboratories are the same laboratories that stand to gain from increased enrollment due to health care reform."
Dr. Birenbaum says that the Finance Committee has made a commitment to work with the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA), and AAB, and others in the laboratory community over the next several weeks to develop an appropriate way to allocate this additional cut to adjust the impact to reflect the amount of Medicare work performed. "The structure of this provision is critical to the future of the community laboratory. It is simply not fair to have the laboratories most involved in Medicare sustain another large cut. They will not survive if some adjustment is not made," says Dr. Birenbaum.
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