September 11, 2006—Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Nathan Deal (R-Ga) has scheduled a hearing for the last week of September to assess the slated 2007 cut to Medicare physician reimbursements.
    The reductions were determined by a sustainable growth-rate formula and would cut physician reimbursement by 5.1%. Committee staff members have drafted proposals to reverse this reduction; one such proposal would link payment to programs rewarding physicians for offering a high quality of care.
    Support for the change is mounting. Subcommittee on Health Chair Nancy Johnson (R-Conn) and Senator Jon Kyle (R-Ariz) have both circulated letters calling for reversal; House Ways and Means Committee Chair Bill Thomas (R-Calif) has also said he will consider the proposals.
    Shortly after the hearing, representatives will leave Washington for the
October congressional recess.

—Cat Vasko