Bush may veto Medicare bill

Share this content:
President Bush
President Bush
President Bush indicated Thursday that he plans to veto the Medicare bill that would restore the exceptions process for Medicare Part B therapy caps and would block a scheduled physician payment cut.

Bush reiterated through a spokesman Thursday that he would veto the bill because it would tap into Medicare Advantage plan funding to pay for the measure. To the delight of many in the healthcare community, the Senate on Wednesday passed H.R. 3661, the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, by a vote of 69-30. The House last month also passed it by 355-59. Both totals represent two-thirds majorities that—if lawmakers stick to their votes—could override a veto. Once it arrives on his desk the president has 10 days to issue a veto.

On Wednesday, nine Republicans switched their vote when it became clear the vote would pass. Helping turn the tide was Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who, in an emotional moment, arrived unexpectedly in the Senate chamber to vote. It was his first time back at the Senate since the disclosure in May that he had brain cancer.