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• Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation by a voice vote on Wednesday that would delay a planned 21% cut in Medicare physician payments until April 30.

The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.

H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, extends an increase in unemployment benefits to May 5 and extends the 0% Medicare physician payment update through April 30, according to a summary of the bill.

Last week, the Senate voted to delay the cut until October 1. In a press release regarding that Senate vote, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack, MD, noted that physicians would not be able to see all Medicare patients without clear direction from Congress regarding the payment rates.

“Short-term actions are the wrong answer to a long-term problem,” Rohack stated in the March 10 release. “These band-aid fixes have only served to increase the size of the cuts and the cost of reform. The longer Congress delays, the higher the cost to the American taxpayer. It’s time to fix the formula and ensure that seniors can count on Medicare now and for years to come.”

On March 11, the Senate passed a separate bill that delayed the payment cut until Sept. 30.

On March 2, the Senate passed a bill that would have delayed the payment cut until March 31.

In November, the House passed a bill that would permanently repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate, a key factor in determining annual Medicare physician payment updates.

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Category: Healthcare
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