Friday, July 29th, 2016

Obama Signed Bill That Capps Had Pushed

President Obama has signed into law a bill that included a provision long championed by Rep. Lois Capps to adjust Medicare reimbursement rates so that they more accurately reflect the actual cost of practicing medicine on the Central Coast.

The fix, which Capps had supported and pushed for more than a decade, will solve a long standing problem in which counties – including Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo – are mislabeled as rural, resulting in health care providers being reimbursed at a lower rate for the care they provide in the Medicare program.

The GPCI problem dates back to 1966 when counties were either designated as “rural” or “urban.” Those designations were never changed, so doctors practicing in counties that have grown since then are being compensated at significantly lower levels than they should. There are 14 California counties – including Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County – whose Medicare providers are being underpaid by as much as 10 percent a year, according to the California Medical Association.