In a last-minute shocker, the Senate voted Thursday against postponing a scheduled 21-percent cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians and other healthcare providers. Sixty senators were needed to end filibuster debate and stop the cuts under Senate rules. Fifty six voted in favor, while 40 opposed. There was no Republican support. (And, of course, no support from Senator Lieberman, who is a Republican in disguise.)
Another consequence of the vote is that tens of thousands of Americans who have exhausted their jobless benefits would not be eligible for more. In addition, new taxes on wealthy investment managers would not be imposed, along with an increase in liability taxes on oil companies, leading Democrats to contend that Republicans were protecting Wall Street and the oil industry, according to the New York Times.
“We’re not going to give up,” said Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader. “We know the American people only have us to depend on.” Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
Once again, Congress is playing with fire by not enacting a permanent solution to the Medicare SGR (sustainable growth rate) physician payment cut problem.
Congress got itself tied up in knots trying to figure out a way to reverse a 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors that went into effect yesterday. It ended up agreeing to legislation, which was signed into law late Thursday evening by President Obama, to restore payments to the pre-cut (2009) levels through the end of May.
The action, though, may have come a dollar short and day late. CMS has indicated that it had no choice but to tell carriers to begin processing claims with the 21% cut, starting yesterday. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*