That summary also noted that the bill, which is aimed primarily at extending a current payroll tax cut, will extend four Medicare-related policies that are set to expire. Those include maintaining the add-on payment increases for ground ambulance services and extending the Qualified Individual, or QI, program, which provides assistance to low-income seniors for their Medicare Part B premium. It would also extend the physician work geographic adjustment, and extend the outpatient therapy caps exceptions process. Absent congressional action, the therapy caps exceptions process is set to expire and Part B outpatient therapy services—provided by non-hospital providers—would be capped at $1,889 starting in 2012. A provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act of 2011 (PDF), as the House bill is called, would extend that process through December 2013.
Meanwhile, a blog from House Speaker John Boehner's office said everything in the bill is paid for through spending cuts, rather than through tax increases. According to the Ways and Means Committee summary, the bill would repeal $8 billion in mandatory funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's prevention and public health fund; prevent about $13.4 billion in overpayments of insurance exchange subsidies, and reduce Medicaid spending by $4 billion through rebasing disproportionate share payments.
“Democrats remain willing to work with Republicans to extend these critical measures before Congress adjourns for the year, but I do not believe that the plan Republican leaders proposed this morning would be the best path forward to do so,” House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement Friday. “I hope they will work with us to find common ground quickly on a deal that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by the president.”
The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.