I wanted to share the final details of the conference agreement. As you may know, the agreement includes a cut to the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS). The conference agreement reduces payment rates for clinical laboratory services by two percent in 2013. CBO estimates this provision would cut the CLFS by $2.7 billion over 10 years. The agreement also includes a provision to extend paying for the technical component (TC) grandfather for four additional months through June 30th. The conference agreement summary says that they decided to end the policy of paying for the TC Grandfather citing concerns Medicare is paying twice for the service and that the GAO has recommended the policy expire.
The conference agreement heads to the floor for a vote today and the Senate later today (or this weekend). I believe that the votes will be close in both Chambers. Congressman Burgess' office contacted me this morning to indicate that they plan to vote NO on the agreement citing the cuts to the laboratory fee schedule as a significant part of their concerns (this despite the fact it does address the SGR). Others in the Senate have expressed similar concerns and opposition to the conference agreement.
[Below] is the section-by-section summary as well as the text of the bill itself.
Jason DuBois, MBA
Vice President, Government Relations
American Clinical Laboratory Association
Clinical Laboratory Coalition Letter
Conference Agreement Section by Section Summary