Senate Continues to Debate Health Care Reform as House Acts on SGR Extension

Debate on health care system reform continued throughout the week in the US Senate. Published reports indicated Democratic leaders were continuing behind-the-scene talks in order to gain the 60 votes needed for passage. The talks reportedly centered on concerns about the cost of the proposed plan and whether to expand the Medicare program to include adults 55 and older. On Wednesday, the US House passed a two-month extension of expiring appropriations for the Department of Defense.  Included in the measure was a two-month extension of the sustainable growth rate (SGR), which would stop the 21.2% Medicare physician pay cut scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010. The AMA reported that the legislation would not affect any of the other payment policies included in the final 2010 fee schedule rule, with those taking effect as scheduled.  Following the House action, a cloture motion on the DoD extension bill was filed in the Senate, which is expected to vote on the cloture motion and the bill this weekend.

The NCMS continues to closely monitor health care system reform activity on Capitol Hill and is providing updates and access to key documents at http://www.ncmedsoc.org/pages/advocacy_govt_affairs/health_reform.html. Breaking news and new developments may be viewed on the Doctor to Doctor Blog, which you can access at the NCMS web site.

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