Senate takes out therapy caps, physician pay provisions from jobs bill

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

Just hours after unveiling a jobs bill that would extend the therapy caps exceptions process and delay a pay cut for Medicare physicians, Senate leaders last week scrapped it in favor of a bill that contains neither of those provisions.

The unexpected move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) came Thursday evening, shortly after Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) released their bill. The new version of the jobs bill would cost roughly $15 billion. That compares with the $85 billion price tag of the Baucus-Grassley bill. The new bill also contains mostly tax incentives for small businesses to hire new workers.

Senators on both sides of the aisle are confounded by the Majority Leader's decision, according to reports from Washington. Some conservative senators had only recently gotten on board with the tax breaks in the original legislation, while Democrats in favor of healthcare reforms were counting on passing the therapy caps exceptions and Medicare physician pay provisions, according to The Hill newspaper.

To find out more about payment and policy in the long-term care sector, tune into the fourth annual McKnight's Online Expo on March 24-25. A session on payment will take place on March 25 at 11 a.m. EST. Registration is free. Visit www.mcknights.com/marchexpo for more information and to register.


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