Two votes determine Medicare payment rule

June 30, 2008

Two votes from Republican senators killed a House bill that would have averted statutory payment reductions for Medicare physicians, just before legislators left Capitol Hill for their Independence Day holiday. Medicare physicians now face 10.6% fee cuts, but there is an opportunity for retrospective increases after the recess.

Two votes from Republican senators killed a House bill that would have averted statutory payment reductions for Medicare physicians, just before legislators left Capitol Hill for their Independence Day holiday. Medicare physicians now face 10.6% fee cuts, but there is an opportunity for retrospective increases after the recess.

At presstime, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had told senators to prepare for a cloture vote, which could force more action on the bill. The White House promises to veto the measure because it places limits on Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plans and cuts indirect medical education payments.

The American Medical Assn. quickly issued a statement, saying many doctors now will need to refuse Medicare patients because of the payment reduction.