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Trump plan would change how Medicare pays for office visits

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is proposing big changes in the way Medicare pays for office visits, offering physicians basically the same amount, regardless of a patient’s condition or the complexity of the services.

Officials said the proposal would radically reduce paperwork, freeing doctors to spend more time with patients.

“Time spent on paperwork is time away from patients,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Critics say the plan would underpay doctors who care for patients with the most complicated ailments — and could discourage some physicians from taking Medicare patients and increase the risk of erroneous and fraudulent payments, because doctors would submit less information.

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Private insurers often follow Medicare’s lead, so the proposed change has implications far beyond Medicare.

Medicare payments for new patients range from $76 to $211; Trump would establish a single rate of about $135.

New York Times

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