Physicians in Congress voted overwhelmingly against the fiscal cliff legislative package that contains a one-year suspension of a scheduled 26.5% Medicare pay cut for doctors.
In the House, physicians rejected the bill—the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012—by a 12-3 margin. The three physician lawmakers who voted for the bill crossed party lines in doing so: GOP Reps. Dan Benishek (Mich.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.) and Joe Heck (Nev.) voted for the bill. The lone Democratic doctor in Congress, Rep. James McDermott of Washington, voted against it. (Hayworth was the only physician in Congress not re-elected last fall.)
In the Senate, where all three physician members are Republicans, the vote was 2-1 in favor of the legislation, with Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) voting in favor and Rand Paul (Ky.) voting against it. The scheduled Medicare pay cut for doctors, called for by the sustainable growth-rate reimbursement formula, has been delayed by temporary patches for the past 10 years.