One-Month Medicare Physician Payment Increase Passes the Senate

The Senate passed a one-month extension of the current Medicare physician payment rates in an effort to avert a 23 percent cut scheduled to take effect December 1, 2010. The bill, H.R. 5712, costs $1 billion over 10 years. The costs of the extension are paid by using savings from a new Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) policy that reduces payments to physical, occupational and speech therapy service providers. Many Members of Congress would like to avoid the cuts for a longer period of time but cannot agree on how to pay for it. A 13 month extension would cost between $17 billion and $20 billion. The House is expected to vote on November 29th on the one month extension. The short extension indicates that Congress will likely take up this issue again in the lame duck session.

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