Senate votes to postpone payment cut to Medicare docs

Share this content:
 Skilled nursing facility readmissions should be an ACO quality measure, government proposes
Skilled nursing facility readmissions should be an ACO quality measure, government proposes

To the relief of physicians everywhere, the Senate voted Thursday to put off a 23% cut in Medicare pay for doctors until Dec. 31.

The House is expected to vote on the measure, which would cost $1 billion over 10 years, after its Thanksgiving recess. The Medicare cut is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1. If it is delayed, the one-month extension will be paid for by changes in Medicare reimbursement for outpatient therapy services.

In anticipation of the physicians' cuts, many doctors have been considering not accepting Medicare patients. Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have both pledged to enact a year-long postponement of the cut that could pass before Dec. 31. Enacting a 12-month reprieve on the cuts would give Congress more time to find another system for paying doctors, they say.