The US Senate failed for a second time to consider legislation to stop the July 1 Medicare physician payment cuts. The June 26 cloture vote failed 58–40, one vote shy of the minimum needed to prevent the 10.6 percent cut. Note that for procedural reasons, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) changed his vote to "No," so that he is able to recall the issue at a later date.
The US House has already taken action to stop the payment cuts and replace them with a positive update. In a convincing and strongly bipartisan vote, the House passed HR 6331 by a vote of 355–59 on June 24.
Because the Senate did not act in time, the scheduled cuts will now go into effect on July 1. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has yet not published information about how payments will be affected. The Senate is expected to revisit this legislation when it returns from its Fourth of July recess on July 7. It will be imperative that senators who voted against cloture on HR 6331 hear from constituents about the importance of putting patients and physicians ahead of politics. It is time for the Senate to follow the House's lead and pass this crucial legislation.
Information about how the payment cuts will affect physicians will be posted as it becomes available.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this posting are those of the author only and do not represent the views of the American Academy of Neurology or any of its affiliated subsidiaries.
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