KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Approves Medicare ‘Doc Fix’

The Senate's $19.2 billion pay fix was approved by unanimous consent Wednesday and now will go to the House, where it is expected to gain passage before Congress leaves Washington for the holidays. The measure is paid for by a tweak in the health overhaul law.

The Associated Press: Senate Puts Off Cut In Medicare Pay For Doctors
When Democrats passed the health care law, they used Medicare cuts to pay much of the cost of providing insurance to millions who lack coverage. Now, lawmakers are reversing the money flow to stave off a scheduled 25 percent cut to doctors on Jan. 1, tapping financing for the health care overhaul to keep Medicare from breaking down (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/8). 

Politico: Senate Approves Medicare Fix
The Senate - helped by a push from the White House - passed a one-year "doc-fix" late Wednesday, preventing a 25 percent cut to Medicare payments that would kick in on Jan. 1 (Haberkorn, 12/9). 

Los Angeles Times: Senate Approves Delaying Medicare Pay Cut
The Senate on Wednesday agreed unanimously to postpone for another year a steep cut in what Medicare pays doctors, clearing away one of the most pressing issues still on the congressional agenda (Levey, 12/9). 

The Hill: Senate Passes 1-Year Doc Fix
The Senate passed on Wednesday night a one-year, fully paid-for fix to Medicare rates that would avoid a scheduled 25 percent cut to physician payments on Jan. 1. The bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent, taps into subsidies for state-run insurance exchanges created by the new healthcare reform law to pay for the $19.2 billion fix to Medicare physician rates (Millman, 12/8).

Reuters: Senate Acts To Stop Medicare Doctors Pay Cut
The Senate on Wednesday agreed to avert a 25 percent pay cut for doctors treating patients covered by the Medicare health program for the elderly. On a voice vote, the Senate approved a one-year "fix" to the doctor's payment formula that would stop a scheduled cut in physicians pay in January that advocates for the elderly said would have made it harder for Medicare patients to get medical care (Smith, 8/12). 

Modern Healthcare: Senate OKs Doc-Pay Extension
By unanimous consent, the Senate passed legislation that averts a 25% Medicare payment cut to physicians that was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2011. To pay for the legislation, the bill suggests a change in policy regarding overpayments of the healthcare affordability tax credit (Zigmond, 12/8).

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