Last Gasps of the 109th Congress

Congressional negotiators are attempting to fashion and pass before the weekend a major tax bill that will eliminate the 5.0 % reduction in Medicare Part B payments to doctors scheduled for January 1 by cutting funding for a Medicare Advantage stabilization fund that is intended to help insurers and HMOs offer Medicare Advantage plans in rural areas. The Washington Post reports that the bill also increases contribution limits for Health Savings Accounts. These measures are included in a bill that also extends popular tax cuts.