Physicians and lawmakers alike hailed the veto-proof passage of a Medicare reform bill that would halt a 10.6% payment cut to physicians through 2009 and make other adjustments to the program. The Senate voted 69-30 to approve the bill, which now moves on to the president.
With this vote, the Senate has passed a responsible and necessary bill to prevent payment cuts for doctors and to improve care for patients, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a written statement. The House had also achieved a veto-proof margin of 355-59 to approve the bill.
In a written statement, J. James Rohack, president-elect of the American Medical Association, praised Sen. Edward Kennedys effort to appear on the Senate floor and vote for the bill. It was the Massachusetts Democrats first appearance in the Senate since being diagnosed with brain cancer. We also applaud those senators who put patients first and voted yes even though they had concerns about the process or some of the bills provisions, Rohack said.
The Senate had previously fallen one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed with the legislation.