Late last night, the president signed H.R. 4691, the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 into law. This legislation includes a “patch” that temporarily postpones the pending 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut until March 31, 2010. The President received the bill following passage in the Senate by a vote of 78 – 19. Senate consideration was made possible when Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) lifted his objection to the legislation allowing the bill to move forward.
The House of Representatives previously passed the legislation on February 25.
Congressional negotiators continue to work to address the pending 21 percent payment cut and the flaws in the underlying Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Senate leadership is focused on H.R. 4213 the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010. This legislation includes an additional “patch” for the 21 percent cut until Sept. 30, 2010. The legislation also includes provisions to extend the geographic practice cost index (GPCI) floor through Dec. 31, 2010.
ASA urges Congress to fully repeal the current SGR formula and implement a new Medicare physician payment update mechanism that accurately reflects the increasing annual costs of providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.