The conference committee tasked with developing an extension of the payroll tax cut and delaying scheduled reimbursement cuts to Medicare physicians met for the fourth time to discuss potential offsets.
Republicans proposed a $150 billion package of cuts which would include a proposal to raise $31 billion over 10 years by increasing high-income beneficiaries’ monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B and D. Another provision would raise $13.4 billion by requiring people enrolled in health plans through the state health insurance exchanges to pay back a larger proportion of the subsidy they received to purchase coverage if they underestimated their annual income.
Democrats are seeking to avoid any proposals that would result in direct cuts to Medicare beneficiaries, which could mean that they may propose cuts to hospital payments.
The payroll and Medicare extension expires on March 1. However, conference committee members continue to insist that they will not consider a short-term solution. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chair of the panel, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said that the committee was only discussing a yearlong plan and that a short-term deal was not on the table.