Late into the evening on New Year’s Day, by a vote of 257-167 the House of Representatives passed the Senate’s H.R. 8, the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” a package of provisions related to the fiscal cliff.
Particularly relevant to anesthesiology, the bill averts the 26.5 percent payment cut to physician payments by continuing the current Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment rates through December 31, 2013. The bill also extends the 2012 geographic adjustments for physician payments through December 31, 2013. Additionally, the bill delays for two months the pending across-the-board cuts or sequestration cuts including a 2 percent cut to Medicare physician payments.
The bill did not address the federal government’s legal borrowing capacity limit, commonly referred to as the debt ceiling, which will likely be hit in the coming weeks.
The President is expected to sign the bill shortly.
ASA continues to advocate against the sequestration cuts and for the repeal and replacement of the flawed SGR mechanism.
White House Fact Sheet on Cliff Package
House Vote on Cliff Package
Senate Vote on Cliff Package