Senate Action Fails to Prevent Medicare Payment Cut
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Thursday, April 1, 2010
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (HR 3590, public law 111-148), and on Tuesday, March 30, he signed the health reform "corrections" bill (HR 4872) into law.
In the course of the final Senate debate on health reform legislation, an amendment was offered and defeated that would have frozen Medicare physician payment rates at the 2009 level until 2014. Such an action would not have eliminated a projected Medicare payment cut; the end of the payment freeze and the application of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) would have required a 32-percent payment cut to be applied to Medicare payments for physician services in 2014.
With Congress in recess at this time, the 21-percent Medicare payment cut for physician services is scheduled to go into effect for care provided after March 31. CMS has agreed to hold all claims for 10 business days (until April 14) to see if there is Congressional action to either fix the SGR or maintain 2009 payment levels for a further period of time. Congress is not back in session until April 12.