Senate Bill Would Block Medicare Payment Cut

Updated Jan 1 9:00 p.m.

Early this morning, the U.S. Senate approved “fiscal cliff” bill that includes a postponement of the 27% cut in physicians’ Medicare fees for one year. If the House passes the measure, fees would be frozen at current rates throughout 2013.

The move was paid for by cuts elsewhere in the federal government’s health care budget., but the details of those cuts aren’t clear as of this writing.

According to Modern Healthcare, the cost of the freeze will be borne principally by hospitals. For example, the bill would adjust some coding rules cutting $10.5 billion in hospital payments; cut $4.9 billion in payments for end-stage renal disease care; and cut  Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments by $4.2 billion.

House Republicans decided to put the measure to a full vote late Tuesday night, after several hours of threats to amend the bill. That action would effectively kill its prospects for this session of Congress, because Senate leaders have flatly declared  they will not consider an amended bill.

It’s now up to the House to act, but late Monday, Republican leaders weren’t making any promises about what would happen on New Years’ Day. 

We’re following the events in Washington and will provide updates as they become available.

  1. ERASTOTHENES DE ALEJANDRIA says:

    As a knowledgeable person in the health management, health control is performed in two ways, the private system and the public. In both, the doctor is the one who carries out the spending, while who provides the money needed, is different. In the private system is the patient himself, who decides how much is spent, while in the public is the administration. Negotiation between both parties is to decide the study physician. Bargaining in the private system is individual patient – doctor, while in system public should be collective to have more strength.

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