Tentative Deal Reached To Prevent Physician Pay Cuts, Preserve Payroll Tax Cut
But congressional aides warned that negotiators still had to sign off on the agreement and that obstacles could surface.
Los Angeles Times: Deal Would Extend Jobless Benefits, Prevent Medicare Cut
One day after House Republican leaders made a major concession on the payroll tax cut, congressional negotiators struck a tentative deal that also would extend long-term unemployment benefits and prevent drastic reductions in doctors' Medicare payments (Mascaro, 2/15).
The New York Times: Tentative Deal Reached To Preserve Cut In Payroll Tax
A vote on the measure would most likely happen by Friday, when Congress is set to recess for a week. ... The piece of the deal that would protect doctors from a huge cut in Medicare reimbursement fees would do so through cuts in the new prevention and public health fund established in the health care law, combined with reducing help for hospitals with bad debt and other health-care-related spending trims (Steinhauer, 2/14).
The Washington Post: Congressional Negotiators Reach Tentative Deal On Payroll Tax, Unemployment Benefits
A deal also would mean that doctors would not see a drop in rates paid by Medicare, according to senior aides in both parties. Lawmakers and aides stressed that final details are still being ironed out — including which cuts would be used to finance the unemployment and Medicare provision — but they were optimistic that a broad deal would be announced Wednesday and approved by Friday (Kane and Nakamura, 2/14).
The Wall Street Journal: Deal Reached On Payroll Tax
The agreement showed the reluctance of both sides, but especially Republicans, to re-engage in the sort of brinksmanship that has caused congressional approval to plummet. ... The agreement would also provide that Medicare would continue to pay physicians at current rates, avoiding a 27.4% cut in fees that would have kicked in March 1. That fee adjustment, expected to cost about $30 billion, would be funded by cuts in payments to Medicare providers, as well as a cut to the wellness and prevention fund in Mr. Obama's health-care law (Bendavid and Peterson, 2/15).
Reuters: US Lawmakers Get Tentative Deal On Payroll Tax, Jobless Benefits
Some of the costs of maintaining doctor fees and continuing long-term jobless benefits will be covered by increased government auctions of Internet and broadcast airwaves, according to lawmakers and aides (Ferraro and Smith, 2/14).
Politico Pro: House GOP Hates SGR Deal
House Republicans emerged from a nearly 90-minute conference meeting late Tuesday disgruntled and disappointed over an emerging payroll tax and Sustainable Growth Rate deal — but they predicted it would likely win enough support to pass by week’s end. "I don’t like it," Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), a member of the House GOP Doctors' Caucus, told POLITICO. "I want to see the details, but what I heard, I don’t like." Other members expressed a similar sentiment. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), who like Gingrey is also a physician and a member of the caucus, said he is "unhappy" (DoBias and Haberkorn, 2/14).