EmaxHealth

Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Senate Discusses Medicare Physician Pay Patch Bill

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday resumed bipartisan discussion on legislation that wouldcurb a 10.6% cut to Medicare physician fees scheduled for July 1, according toa Senate aide, CongressDaily reports (Edney/Bourge, CongressDaily,6/20). Finance Committee Republicans on Wednesday announced they would offer apared-down bill to prevent the fee cut after ranking member Chuck Grassley's(R-Iowa) measure (S 3118) failed to receive consideration last week. Meanwhile,Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Wednesday met with HouseDemocratic leadership to discuss options for a Medicare package after hismeasure (S 3101) failed to receive enough votes for cloture last week (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 6/19).

Senate Democrats and Republicans are seeking to block the cut for 18 months andincrease fees by 1.1% through 2009. However, Republicans are opposed to payingfor the fix through cuts to private Medicare Advantage plans. In addition,Democrats have been pushing for an expansion of a low-income assistanceprogram.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) saidthat the House will write legislation and send it to the Senate if senatorscannot come to an agreement. He said that a short-term physician pay patch is a"last-ditch, can't-agree-to-anything solution" (CongressDaily,6/20).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

Advertisement