KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Will Take Up Stand-Alone ‘Doc Fix’ As Senate Tries Once Again To Advance Broader Jobs Bill

The Associated Press: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House may pass a bill as early as Thursday evening that would spare doctors from cuts in Medicare payments." This legislation also is part of a larger piece measure that provides assistance to states and extends some unemployment benefits. "Pelosi said it is "clear" the Senate will be unable to pass the larger bill, so the House is considering passing a much smaller bill that deals only with Medicare payment for doctors" (The Associated Press).

The National Journal: Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that the House could vote Thursday evening or Friday (6/24).

CQ: "The Speaker previously balked at voting on the separate 'doc fix' measure (HR 3962), because its provisions are included in a broader package of tax break and benefit extensions (HR 4213) pending on the Senate floor." In addition to the pay fix provision, the legislation also includes temporary funding relief for private pension plans (6/24).

Modern Healthcare: Meanwhile, "Senate Democrats are taking one last swing at a package of tax and spend measures by tweaking Medicaid payments and restoring a six-month patch to physician payment in order to help garner some Republican support."

"The slimmed down Medicaid provision costs roughly $16 billion, considerably less than an original version that would have run taxpayers $24 billion." Under this new version, states would "continue to see a six-month extension of higher federal dollars, but the matching rate with ratchet down to 3.2% for all states from January through March 2011, and then 1.2% for April through June." As is, the bonus Medicaid money is set to expire at year's end (DuBias, 6,24).

The Hill: Senate Democratic leaders have also "returned the doc fix provision to the tax extenders bill they're trying to push through the upper chamber this week." The provision, which was approved as a stand-alone measure by the Senate last Friday, "would temporarily reverse a 21 percent pay cut for doctors treating Medicare patients," which kicked in June 1, "replacing it with a 2.2 percent pay hike through November" (Lillis, 6/24).  

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