Lame-duck session delivers a feast

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Provider groups gained major legislative victories this weekend.


A departing 109th Congress approved measures to extend the Medicare therapy cap exceptions process, preserve provider tax ceilings of up to 5.5% through 2011 and retain the annual Medicare update for skilled nursing facilities. All three provisions faced significant reductions or elimination if Congress did not take action before it left for its year-end recess.
The bill's passage was "a solid, meaningful, bipartisan achievement," said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association, which represents about 11,000 providers.
Scrambling to wrap up work on the final day of its lame-duck session, Congress also voted to postpone completing nine of 11 fiscal year 2007 spending bills until Feb. 15.