March 03, 2010
Update: Congress and President Act to Pass “Patch” for Pending 21 percent Medicare Physician Payment Cut
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.