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

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

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.

On Saturday, the Senate overwhelmingly (89-10) passed a bill (H.R. 3630) extending the payroll tax cut by two months. The bill also contained two provisions closely watched by long-term care groups: the Medicare doc fix and an extension of the therapy cap exception process.

However, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said early Monday that he expected the House to vote the measure down Monday night, saying a two-month extension creates too much uncertainty. Boehner and other Republicans said they want at least a one-year extension, adding that lawmakers should cancel their vacations and stay in Washington to hammer out a compromise before Jan. 1, if necessary.

"I expect that the House will disagree with the Senate amendment and instead vote to formally go to conference — the formal process of which the House and Senate can resolve our differences between our two chambers and our two bills,” Boehner said early Monday. By evening, the vote had been postponed until Tuesday.

House Republicans and the Obama administration both have said they want to extend the payroll tax cut by a year, but they disagree on how such an expense should be funded.

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