Senate Passes Bill Delaying Medicare Physician Payment Cut for 2 Months

The U.S. Senate passed an amended version of a bill Saturday that postpones a 27.4% Medicare physician payment decrease scheduled to occur on Jan. 1.

The amended measure delays the payment cut and extends the payroll tax deduction and unemployment compensation for 2 months. It also includes an energy pipeline project. The bill passed by a vote of 89-10.

The House version of the bill, passed Dec. 13, called for a 2-year delay of the Medicare physician payment cut. After the bill’s passage in the Senate, a message on the Senate action was sent to the House for consideration.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have registered staunch opposition to the Senate bill and advocated a longer extension of the bill’s key provisions.

The physician payment cut results 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 Various medical societies have called for the SGR to be altered or repealed.

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