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.

Medicare rate cut delayed - for now

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The House approved Monday a $1 billion measure that delays by one month a 23% cut in federal Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

The Senate approved the legislation earlier this month. It now moves to President Obama's desk for signature.

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 been blocked 10 times in the last eight years, including four times this year.

The legislation approved Monday will 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.

Doctors have been heavily lobbying lawmakers to prevent the scheduled cut from taking effect on Dec. 1. The American Medical Association had said that if the cut were enacted, some doctors would have had to stop accepting Medicare patients. Some 43 million people, mostly senior citizens, receive Medicare benefits.

Monday's measure, however, is only a temporary fix. The association wants the rate cut blocked for 13 months because it is scheduled to widen to 25% next year. Some senators have said they are working on a bill that would extend the current payment rates through 2011.

"While this short-term delay helps ensure that physicians can continue to care for seniors for the next month, congressional action early in December to stop the cut for one year will inject stability into the Medicare program," said Dr. Cecil B. Wilson, the association's president.

CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,502.99 107.59 0.58%
Nasdaq 5,232.33 13.41 0.26%
S&P 500 2,180.38 11.34 0.52%
Treasuries 1.57 -0.07 -4.22%
Data as of 7:50pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.84 0.05 0.32%
Micron Technology In... 16.91 0.40 2.42%
Apple Inc 106.82 -0.12 -0.11%
Ford Motor Co 12.47 0.09 0.73%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.44 0.04 0.63%
Data as of 4:02pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Southwest pilots have been negotiating pay raises and improved contract terms with the airline for more than four years. Now, there's a sign the gridlock is ending. The union said Monday they've reached an 'agreement in principle.' More

Nearly 10,000 current and former Chipotle workers have joined a class action lawsuit alleging the company forced them to work 'off the clock' without pay. More

Following an order from the Department of Education to stop admitting students on federal financial aid, the for-profit technical school has stopped enrolling new students. More