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 payment bill passes House, goes to Obama

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The House approved a bipartisan bill Thursday that would prevent a 25% cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates in 2011, sending it to President Obama for his signature.

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.

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.

"Stopping the steep 25% Medicare cut for one year was vital to preserve seniors' access to physician care in 2011," said Dr. Cecil Wilson, the association's president. "Many physicians made clear that this year's roller coaster ride, caused by five delays of this year's cut, forced them to make difficult practice changes like limiting the number of Medicare patients they could treat."

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,014.38 -12.67 -0.08%
Nasdaq 4,268.76 -14.99 -0.35%
S&P 500 1,852.21 -1.23 -0.07%
Treasuries 1.73 -0.01 -0.35%
Data as of 4:20pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 12.20 -0.07 -0.57%
Facebook Inc 99.54 -0.21 -0.21%
Pfizer Inc 29.10 0.54 1.89%
Ford Motor Co 11.35 -0.24 -2.07%
Microsoft Corp 49.28 -0.13 -0.26%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Sports Authority faces looming deadline, possible bankruptcy filing after missing $20 million interest payment. More

President Obama's $4.15 trillion budget won't go anywhere this year with Republican lawmakers. But sometimes the proposals of outgoing presidents can influence future policy debates. Here are some of Obama's ideas from his last budget blueprint. More

Fitbit shares are at an all-time low despite a Super Bowl ad promoting its new Blaze smartwatch. Investors are worried about the intense competition in the wearables market ... and fear that Fitbit could be another GoPro. 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

Looking to buy a home while carrying student debt? Here's the difference between making a low down payment and putting 20% down. More