Senate, House Agree on Temporary Medicare Physician Rate Freeze
Congressional leaders came to agreement late Thursday on a legislative package that freezes Medicare payments to physicians for two months, preventing a 27.4 percent cut that was scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1. The deal is expected to be approved in voice votes on Friday that will require only a handful of lawmakers to be present.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed to the two-month extension, which was approved by the Senate last week. House Republicans had rejected the deal earlier in the week, but backtracked due to public pressure and the potential for fallout leading into an election year, the Washington Post reports.
“The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension,” Boehner said in a statement.
Peter W. Carmel, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement the “brief reprieve” from Medicare cuts is welcome, but Congress must work on a long-term solution. “Members of Congress need to use this time to work in a bipartisan manner to provide long-term stability for seniors, military families, and the physicians who care for them,” he said.