The bill also includes measures to extend several Medicare provisions that are set to expire, such as 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 premiums.
Hospital groups earlier Tuesday expressed their strong opposition to the bill in a letter to federal lawmakers. In it, the provider groups said they approve a solution to the physician payment system, but not through the roughly $17 billion in reduced payments to hospitals that the bill includes. The legislation also would repeal about $8 billion in mandatory funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's prevention and public health fund, and would prevent about $13.4 billion in overpayments of insurance exchange subsidies.
A Statement of Administration Policy from the White House said the House legislation “seeks to put the burden of paying for the bill on working families, while giving a free pass to the wealthiest and to big corporations by protecting their loopholes and subsidies,” and indicated that President Barack Obama will veto the bill if he is presented with it.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have indicated they intend to prevent the steep cut to physicians that is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, but that they still are working on plans to do so.
After the bill passed, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a nurse, released a statement saying that more work needs to be done. "We need to permanently fix Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors and not at the continued expense of our rural providers. And this Congress needs to be about the real, lasting solutions that will get our economy and our country back on track."