NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill that would prevent a 25% cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates in 2011.
The bill, which would cost $19.3 billion over 10 years, would be paid for by changing a provision of the health reform act that provides tax credits for people who buy coverage. The credit is scaled to a person's income. The legislation would increase the amount people would have to repay if they underestimate their earnings.
In a rare act of unanimity, the bill is being sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus of Montana, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the committee.
That line-up of heavy hitters bodes well for the bill's passage. It would then move to the House of Representatives, which supported previous efforts to keep pay levels intact for Medicare doctors.
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 five times this year.
Doctors have been heavily lobbying lawmakers to prevent the scheduled cut from taking effect next year.
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.
After a season that included harsh criticism of NFL for not doing enough on domestic violence, Super Bowl will include spot drawing attention to the issue. More
You need a lot less to get into the Top 1% in Arkansas than you do in Connecticut. More
Daniel Kottke's college days in the '70 were pretty prosaic: Pink Floyd, a pastoral campus and hallucinogens. The only thing that was remarkable was his fellow traveler: Steve Jobs. More
On demand delivery startup WunWun is expecting its order volume to double by the time they close up shop on Monday. All thanks to a blizzard. More