A measure to scrap the physician payment formula over the next 10 years was crushed in the Senate, failing to garner 13 Democrats who could have advanced the bill.
The $250 billion bill, written by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and rushed to the floor by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), fell 13 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a legislative block, 53-47. Under the measure, the sustainable growth-rate formula—widely seen as a flawed part of the Medicare payment system—would have been wiped clean and physician payments would be frozen for 10 years.
Republicans and some Democrats, however, opposed the legislation because it would have added to the overall national debt.
The American Medical Association, which championed the bill, said it was “deeply disappointed” in the vote. “While short term fixes have temporarily averted widespread access problems, they have also grown the size of the problem—and the cost of reform,” AMA President J. James Rohack said in a written statement.