Two physician payment bills in Senate could be under microscope

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Senators may have to reconcile two separate bills that would delay payment cuts to physicians.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced his bill on Friday, while Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) was planning to introduce his this week. Both plans are, in many respects, similar. Both seek to delay a 10.6% cut to Medicare physician reimbursements. Both seek to increase those reimbursements by 1.1%. The main difference between the two is the offsets: Baucus plans to pay for his $20 billion bill through reduced spending on Medicare Advantage plans and a reduction to indirect medical education payments under MA.

Grassley, on the other hand according to CQ Today, is said to be focusing his offsets on a "narrow part of those private sector plans." He hopes a compromise between his legislation and Baucus' will quash cuts to MA plans and lead to limited legislation. Baucus' bill is expected to hit the Senate floor by mid-week. The White House has said it will veto any legislation containing cuts to MA plans.