Congress Hands Physicians a Pair of Presents for the Holiday

By a vote of 409 to 2, the U.S. House passed H.R. 4994, the “Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010,” on Thursday. The bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Wednesday, would stabilize Medicare physician payments at current rates through the end of 2011. It now goes to the White House for President Obama to sign into law.

The bill provides a 12-month reprieve from the 25 percent Medicare physician payment cut that had been scheduled to take effect on January 1. It also extends a number of payment policies that were set to expire at the end of the year and includes funds to enable Medicare contractors to reprocess claims for physician services affected by the Affordable Care Act passed last spring with a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2010.

In a statement issued Wednesday, President Obama said: “It’s time for a permanent solution that seniors and their doctors can depend on, and I look forward to working with Congress to address this matter once and for all in the coming year.”

The NCMS will continue to work with the NC Congressional Delegation in seeking a permanent replacement for the troublesome SGR during the 2011 session.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed “red flag” legislation that exempts physicians from the anti-identity theft requirements and safeguards that apply to banks and other creditors. The Senate had previously approved the bill, which went to the White House for the President’s signature. The NCMS, AMA and other physician groups sought the statutory exemption after the Federal Trade Commission proposed the red flag rule earlier this year.

The NCMS urges you to thank your Representatives and Senators for passing this important legislation.  Click here for Congressional contact information.

 
 

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