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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,672.20 -0.40 -0.00%
Nasdaq 4,765.30 7.42 0.16%
S&P 500 2,054.50 2.68 0.13%
Treasuries 1.82 0.00 0.17%
Data as of 12:20pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.84 0.11 0.70%
Apple Inc 113.56 0.58 0.51%
General Electric Co 24.54 0.07 0.27%
Intel Corp 35.70 -0.74 -2.04%
Mattel Inc 26.92 -1.11 -3.98%
Data as of 12:05pm ET

Sections

Shares of a generator company, snow plow manufacturer and a salt maker are enjoying the Blizzard of 2015. More

A major snowstorm can be a major disruption to the economy, leaving some buried in losses while others see a spike in business. More

First introduced in 2007 as way of sifting through Twitter's newsfeed, the hashtag has since spawned new tech businesses and become a pop culture phenom that retailers are cashing in on. More

Target-date funds have become a wildly popular option among those seeking a hands-off approach to retirement investing. But not all of these funds are created equally. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.