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Stability sought via budget deal

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Providers are likely looking forward to a fiscal 2014 with generally stable funding sources and no repeat of a government shutdown. The Senate was expected to vote on and pass a massive $1.1 trillion government spending bill as early as late this week. The House overwhelming passed it on Wednesday. The bipartisan agreement would keep payment levels to providers stable with those from 2013, which included sequestration cuts across most sectors. At 1,583 pages, the omnibus bill is a compromise for both major political parties. It funds the government through September and also sets overall spending limits for the next two years.

No reason to cheer fiscal cliff 'solution'

No reason to cheer fiscal cliff 'solution'

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Should a person be congratulated and backslapped for simply doing his or her job? That's the question that should be on people's minds today as they ponder what has happened with fiscal cliff negotiations.

Preserving the status quo costs more than ever

Preserving the status quo costs more than ever

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As $6 billion investments go, the 2012 presidential and Congressional races didn't deliver much of a return. Except, of course, for people who like to spend money in order to keep things the way they are.

Rival small business tax cut bills fail in Senate

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Two bills that would have cut taxes for small business died in the Senate Thursday.

House passes spending cut bill containing Medicare spending cuts

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The House on Thursday passed spending cut legislation that included a 2% cut in Medicare spending.

House passes 20% tax cut for small businesses

House passes 20% tax cut for small businesses

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Small nursing home operators stand to benefit from a 20% tax cut for small businesses that passed the House Thursday.

House repeals Medicare payment advisory board

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As expected, the House of Representatives repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board Thursday afternoon.

House committee votes to repeal Medicare payment board

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicare payment board Tuesday morning.

'Doc fix' moves on to White House

'Doc fix' moves on to White House

A bill that contains legislation cancelling a scheduled Medicare reimbursement cut to physicians has passed the House and Senate.

All eyes turn to the Senate over the fate of the CLASS Act

Providers will be among the interested stakeholders watching closely for signs whether the Senate will follow the House's lead and vote to repeal the CLASS Act. Many observers believe the Democrat-led Senate will not, but there has been at least a minor shift in momentum for it recently. Various news reports have detailed what it could mean to have the dormant measure still on the books, and fiscal conservatives don't like it. Meanwhile, proponents of the first-ever government long-term care benefit continue to press their opponents with the question: If not CLASS, then what?

Long-term care operators join the rest of the nation in wondering: Will Congress pull a rabbit out of its hat?

Long-term care providers and other caregivers — as well as significant other groups of people around the country — will be anxiously watching to see if the Senate and the House can get together on compromise funding legislation before the end of the year. At risk with the dawning of 2012 will be major funding cutbacks to Medicare doctors, expiration of the Medicare therapy exceptions process, among other items. An impasse was created after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a package that included a two-month extension to payroll tax cuts last weekend, but then the Republican-led House voted down the same measure. Millions of people will be affected one way or another.

CMS instructs contractors to hold physician payment claims as House votes down payroll tax cut bill

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has instructed claims contractors to withhold physician payment claims for the first 10 days of 2012, citing Congress' inability to address the "doc fix."

Providers tense, as House leaders vow to vote around Senate-approved measure with 'doc fix' and therapy cap extender bills

Providers tense, as House leaders vow to vote around Senate-approved measure with 'doc fix' and therapy cap extender bills

Provider groups were anxiously awaiting a vote that is expected to be held Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives. The balloting could determine the short-term fate of Medicare spending for the "doc fix" and an extension to the therapy caps exception process.

Repeal excise tax on medical devices, letters state

More than 400 organizations and companies have sent letters to House and Senate leaders asking for the repeal of a 2.3% medical device excise tax. The tax is scheduled to begin in 2013. If enacted, it would cost vendors more than $2.7 billion each year, letters warn.

GOP House members take heat over proposed Medicare reforms

GOP House members take heat over proposed Medicare reforms

Republican House members convened a private conference call Tuesday to talk about ways to reshape the Medicare reform discussion, Congressional aides told Reuters.

House passes GOP-supported fiscal year 2012 budget with big spending cuts

House passes GOP-supported fiscal year 2012 budget with big spending cuts

Voting along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed fiscal year 2012 budget Friday.

Bill would correct post-hospitalization Medicare loophole

A bipartisan group of House and Senate members have proposed legislation that would ensure that seniors have access to skilled nursing care after being hospitalized for observation.

The gloves to come off in reform debate

Now that House Democrats, the dominant party in that chamber, have issued their proposal for healthcare reform, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will put a price tag on it. The full House then could vote on the measure by the end of next week.

Senate HELP Committee passes Kennedy bill; providers worry about companion House plan

Senate HELP Committee passes Kennedy bill; providers worry about companion House plan

As fallout from the House healthcare reform plan continued to rain down Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed its own reform proposal.

U.S. House healthcare reform bill formally unveiled

U.S. House healthcare reform bill formally unveiled

The U.S. House of Representatives officially released its version of healthcare reform legislation Tuesday. And, as requested by President Obama, the reform package should come to a vote by the August recess, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

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