The chance of a $41 billion Medicare provider giveback bill passing the Senate before the November elections is little to none, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Thomas Scully said today. Flanked by senior citizens visiting Washington to lobby for more investment in Medicare HMOs, Scully said, "My guess right now is that there will be no provider giveback bill." Late last week, the bill hit a stumbling block when Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) prevented it from moving to the Senate floor for consideration, citing an excessive price tag. As for the possibility of lawmakers revisiting the bill later, Scully said, "I've been at this for 25 years, and you don't do a giveback package after the election." Scully reasserted that the Bush administration considers it a top priority to repair the physician payment formula. Despite rumors that the formula could be fixed by the CMS, Scully said it must be done legislatively. -- by Jeff Tieman
Scully: Poor odds for provider bill
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