Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Senate tries to protect doctors from Medicare rate cuts

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Doctors would see their federal Medicare reimbursement rates hold steady in December, under a bipartisan bill passed Thursday in the Senate.

The $1 billion measure would block a scheduled 23% cut in physician payments. The so-called doc-fix legislation was introduced by Senators Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican.

A 1997 law requires that doctors' Medicare rates be adjusted each year based on the health of the economy, with the goal of keeping the program in the black. Rate cuts have now been blocked 10 times in the last eight years, including four times this year.

The new bill would be paid for using savings from a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy that reduces payments for multiple therapy services provided to patients in one day.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the House should take it up when it reconvenes on Nov. 29.

Doctors have been heavily lobbying lawmakers to prevent the scheduled cut from taking effect. The American Medical Association has said that if the cut is enacted, doctors may have to stop accepting Medicare patients. Some 43 million people, mostly senior citizens, receive Medicare benefits.

The AMA wants the rate cut blocked for 13 months because it is scheduled to widen to 25% next year.

The senators said they are working on a measure that would extend the current payment rates through 2011. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,204.97 -211.61 -1.29%
Nasdaq 4,363.14 -146.41 -3.25%
S&P 500 1,880.05 -35.40 -1.85%
Treasuries 1.85 -0.02 -0.86%
Data as of 7:03pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 12.95 -0.30 -2.26%
Facebook Inc 104.07 -6.42 -5.81%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 5.68 -0.04 -0.70%
Microsoft Corp 50.16 -1.84 -3.54%
General Electric Co 28.54 -0.64 -2.19%
Data as of Feb 5
Sponsors

Sections

The economy is better than it was, but not even President Obama is ready to declare it's booming. More

Laurie Segall sits down with Foursquare's new CEO Jeff Glueck to discuss the company's latest round of funding at a lower valuation, and their hybrid consumer/enterprise business model. More

Nonprofit JumpStart has launched a new $10M fund that will only invest in women and minority-led startups. The catch: You have to move to Ohio. More

Portland, Oregon, is often described as the last affordable cool city on the West Coast. But as more people move to the city, it's becoming increasingly unaffordable. More