House Passes Bill Delaying Medicare Physician Payment Cut for 2 Years

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday night that forestalls for 2 years a 27.4% physician payment decrease scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The bill passed by a vote of 234-193; 224 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, according to the House website.

The measure will proceed to the Democratic-controlled Senate for consideration; it is not expected to pass.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 also includes an extension of the payroll tax deduction and an energy pipeline project.

The physician payment cut stems in part from the sustainable growth rate (SGR), a key factor in annual Medicare payment updates. Various medical societies have called for the SGR to be changed or eliminated.

“It is our expectation that, in the eleventh hour, congressional Republicans and Democrats will come to an agreement to protect the middle class and finish their budget work for the year,” White House officials said in a news release.

In a separate release, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called for bipartisan support of the legislation.

“It is my hope that the President will accept this measure so that Americans can see that we are still capable of working together to the meet the challenges we face,” Boehner said.

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