The irony is quite staggering. On the same day that Barry Bonds gets the San Francisco Giants to bid against themselves–appalling the local baseball columnists–and give him $16m for one season in his tarnished chase of Hank Aaron, the Congress after a lot of high falooting talk, cancels the fee cut for Medicare Part B and gives a tiny P4P boost. Obviously like Bonds and the Giants management, the AMA still has Congress where it wants it — even though Bond’s numbers for the last two years have not exactly been worth $6m a year let alone $16m, and the cost to Medicare of Part B physician services has gone up despite previous fee cuts, while all the wonks agree that access to physicians for Medicare patients is not a problem (or at least not one affected by across the board fee increases or decreases).
Still let’s not look to baseball teams or Congress for rational decisions, especially with other people’s money. And I won’t even comment on the potential abolition of the limit to which people can put tax-free money in HSAs, other than to note that as they can be used for any spending after age 65 Congress may have just created the biggest tax avoidance scheme of all time!