American Society of Hematology

House Passes Bill Containing 2-Year SGR Fix, Senate Fate Uncertain; Act Now to Stop the 27.4 Percent Medicare Physician Payment Cut Scheduled for 2012

Published on: December 15, 2011

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011," by a vote of 234 to 193. In addition to proposals to extend the pay-roll tax cut and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs, the bill included a proposal to provide two years of Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) relief with one percent increases in each year.

Although the measure passed the House, the Senate leaders have indicated that the House proposal does not have the support to prevail in the Senate. Additionally, the White House announced that should the President be presented with the bill, he would veto it. Senate and White House objections mostly revolve around provisions used to pay for the House bill as well as a provision requiring the President to make a determination on the future of the controversial Keystone pipeline.

In the coming days, the Senate will likely unveil a separate proposal to address the pay-roll tax, UI, and the SGR.

Unless Congress acts, physicians face a 27.4 percent cut in Medicare payments beginning January 1, 2012. Now is the time to contact lawmakers and urge them to address and correct the physician payment formula. Please visit the ASH Advocacy Center to join ASH's campaign to contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to stop the Medicare physician payment cut scheduled for 2012.

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