The Latest On The Payroll Tax Break Extension And ‘Doc Fix’
Lawmakers are floating plans to complete work on key pieces of legislation that will otherwise expire at the end of the year.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Leaders Hope GOP Lawmakers Ready To Back Bill Renewing Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefits
Top House Republicans hope to win rank-and-file GOP support for a measure renewing this year's Social Security payroll tax cut and extending benefits for the long-term unemployed. House GOP lawmakers were meeting privately Thursday to seek agreement on legislation that leaders want to bring to a vote next week. They would also include language heading off a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors (12/8).
The Associated Press: GOP Faces Uphill Battle On Policy Issues
Conservative flashpoint issues from abortion and abstinence education to President Barack Obama's health care law are the biggest obstacles to Congress completing a massive year-end spending bill next week that would keep the government running through next September. Going into end-game negotiations this weekend on the $900-plus billion bill, Republicans expect to lose on most of the policy provisions, or "riders," they added to House versions of the must-do spending measures (Taylor, 12/8).
Modern Healthcare: No Doc-Pay Overhaul Planned: Lawmaker
The co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus said negotiations on the Medicare physician payment formula are aiming for a two-year continuation of the current rates instead of a permanent overhaul. Meanwhile, a host of hospital groups and health systems urged Congress in letter to lawmakers this week not to reduce Medicare payments to hospitals or Medicaid funding as a way of staving off steep cuts in Medicare physician payments (Daly and Zigmond, 12/7).
The Hill: Bipartisan Group Opposes Health Care Cuts To Pay For Must-Pass Bills
Seventy House members of both parties have signed on to a letter urging House leaders to reject further cuts to rehabilitation hospitals and hospital-based rehabilitation units. President Obama as part of his $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan had proposed cutting Medicare payments for rehabilitation hospitals by $7 million. Those cuts and many more in the health care sector are now back on the table as Congress weighs proposals to pay for must-pass end-of-the-year legislation including the so-called Medicare "doc fix," unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut (Pecquet, 12/7).