Cloture Vote on Medicare Doc Fix Set for Monday
Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm
Without any ceremony, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took to the floor this afternoon and filed a motion to hold a cloture vote Monday on a 10-year, $245 billion proposal to update payments to physicians participating in Medicare.
The bill, introduced just two days ago by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), would eliminate the flawed Medicare physician payment formula — called the sustainable growth rate, or SGR — and replace it with an updated process designed to better reflect the actual cost of treating those patients.
You ask: Why not just stick the proposal into the larger health reform bill being weaved together this very moment by Senate leaders? Because that comprehensive bill comes with a stipulation that everything in it be paid for with spending cuts or increased revenues. The doc-fix fill, if passed separately, comes with no such stipulation because, unlike the House, the upper chamber never adopted paygo rules. (The Senate Finance Committee bill contains an $11 billion provision providing a physician pay update, but only for 2010.)
Also a potential hurdle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today that she has every intention of sticking to a promise, made earlier in the year, that any SGR fix must follow paygo rules to get her support.
Monday’s cloture vote is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Reid said, with one hour of debate beforehand.
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