The Senate late Thursday passed legislation to delay by one month a 23% Medicare payment cut to physicians that is scheduled for Dec. 1.
Doc-pay legislation clears Senate
Earlier, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced they had introduced the legislation and would also work together for a more permanent fix, while House Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced their own bill that would extend current Medicare payment rates to physicians for 13 months and provide a 1% update for both this year and next.
In the Senate bill, the extension would be paid for using Medicare savings from a CMS policy that reduces payments for multiple therapy services in one day but would decrease that cut to 20% from the 25% that was originally proposed, according to explanation in a news release from the Senate Finance Committee.
“Once signed into law by the president, it will mean that seniors and military families are spared the threat of a lapse in care,” Baucus said in the release. “The next step is moving onto finding a yearlong extension before this fix runs out.”
The legislation must still be passed by the House and then signed into law by the president. “It is my intention to schedule this bill for consideration when the House reconvenes on Nov. 29th, so we can send it to the president's desk prior to the Nov. 30th expiration date of current SGR relief,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement.
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