The Se­nate passed a $138 bil­lion bill to avert Medi­care pay­ment cuts to doc­tors un­til Oc­to­ber.

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page -

The Se­nate voted 62-36 to ap­prove a $138 bil­lion bill that would tem­po­rar­ily pre­vent Medi­care pay­ment cuts to doc­tors as well as ex­tend fed­eral Med­i­caid as­sis­tance and CO­BRA pre­mium sub­si­dies. Se­nate pol­i­cy­mak­ers were press­ing the House to go to con­fer­ence on the bill. The House had passed an ear­lier ver­sion of the leg­is­la­tion. The Se­nate’s bill would ward off a 21.2% cut to Medi­care physi­cian pay­ments, trig­gered by its sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula, un­til Oct. 1. Physi­cian groups, how­ever, are hop­ing that Congress will de­liver on a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to Medi­care’s SGR for­mula, which is based on the econ­omy’s health and has been threat­en­ing pay­ment cuts to doc­tors since 2003. The bill also con­tains a six­month ex­ten­sion in ad­di­tional fed­eral fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for state Med­i­caid pro­grams, and would ex­tend un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance ben­e­fits and pre­mium sub­si­dies for cov­er­age un­der the Con­sol­i­dated Om­nibus Bud­get Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act through the end of the year.

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