House vote delays cut in Medicare reimbursements

December 7, 2010

The House of Representatives passed legislation Nov. 29 that temporarily halts the 23 percent cut in Medicare physician payments that was to take effect Dec. 1, MedPage Today reports.

Washington - The House of Representatives passed legislation Nov. 29 that temporarily halts the 23 percent cut in Medicare physician payments that was to take effect Dec. 1, MedPage Today reports.

The Senate passed the same measure Nov. 18. The bill awaits President Obama’s signature.

The measure gives physicians a 2.2 percent increase from 2009 Medicare reimbursement rates through the month of December and delays a payment cut for providers in the Tricare program that was scheduled to take effect Dec. 1.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has been backing a $15 billion, 13-month extension of the so-called “doc fix” that would shield physicians from a Medicare reimbursement reduction until 2012.

In a prepared statement, AMA President Cecil Wilson, M.D., said, “While this short-term delay helps ensure that physicians can continue to care for seniors for the next month, congressional action early in December to stop the cut for one year will inject stability into the Medicare program and ensure that Medicare delivers on its promise of health coverage for America's seniors.”

Congress must pass another patch before Jan. 1 to prevent another scheduled cut, which would reduce total reimbursements for doctors treating Medicare patients by 25 percent from current levels.