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Senate Approves Delaying Physician Pay Cut Until October 1

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 10, 2010

The Senate voted this afternoon to delay a 21.2% physician pay cut in Medicare reimbursement until October 1.

Overall, the Senate approved a $138 billion package of legislation, including tax extenders and unemployment aid that the White House said is critically important to the country's economic recovery.

The vote was 62 to 36.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to limit the bill's debate, with President Obama saying he was "grateful to members of both parties that helped move forward on this bill, " said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The Senate included an amendment by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-MT, to the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act that would delay the Medicare payment cut for physicians—that was supposed to go into effect March 1— until October 1.

The American Medical Association stated the Baucus bill appeared to be a compromise between senators who wanted to implement a one-year payment fix and others who were seeking another "short bridge" to give Congress more time to possibly repeal the formula that calls for annual physician payment cuts.


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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