Monday, April 12, 2010

Senate Back to Work Today

The Senate is back to work today after a two week break.  There is a scheduled cloture vote that would limit debate on a bill implementing a 30-day freeze to a 21% Medicare cut for doctors.  The 21% reimbursement cut for physicians technically took effect April 1, 2010, but CMS has requested that physicians hold billing for two weeks in anticipation of Senate action today.

Republicans and Democrats reached a stalemate on the bill prior to the spring recess, largely based on disagreement about whether the $9.2 billion cost of the bill should be offset.  The success of a cloture vote today would allow lawmakers another 20 days to consider a longer extension or a permanent solution to the scheduled reductions.  In addition, the more than 200,000 people who lost their jobless benefits on April 5, including subsidies to pay for health insurance through COBRA, would have an opportunity to apply for a one month extension of those benefits.    

Democratic leaders have pledged to work to make an extension retroactive to April 1.  The American College of Emergency Physicians is working with lawmakers to develop a permanent fix to the situation that leaves emergency physicians facing large Medicare cuts yearly based on a formula that is flawed.

1 comment: said...

ACEP: We would love to have you join all the 50 other state medical societies and 14 other national specialty societies in sponsoring our "Stop the Medicare Meltdown" petition drive.

The petition calls on Congress to enact a rational Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps up with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula.

Check out the “Stop the Medicare Meltdown” petition and then let us know if you want to join.

Steve Levine
VP, Communication
Texas Medical Association