House Rejects Legislation to Extend Tax Cuts, Prevent Physician Payment Cuts

December 21, 2011

House Rejects Legislation to Extend Tax Cuts, Prevent Physician Payment Cuts

On Tuesday, December 20, 2011, the House of Representatives voted 229-193 to reject legislation passed by the Senate that would have extended a payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits, and prevented cuts to physician payments by two months.  The House instead called for a Conference Committeeto negotiate with the Senate in hopes of passing a bill that would offer a more long-term extension similar to the version passed in the House (HR 501) earlier this month.  Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the holidays leaving the possibility that physicians will see their payments cut by over 27% beginning on January 1, 2012. 

In the past, Congress has acted to retroactively correct physician payments after the “doc fix” expired, doing so twice in 2010.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is instructing contractors to hold claims for services in 2012 for the first 10 business days of January 2012 to see if Congress will act.  CMS will then pay the claims retroactively as appropriate.  CMS is also urging Congress to act to prevent the payment cuts from being implemented. 

SNM continues to work on your behalf to encourage Congress to pass legislation to prevent the payment cuts and to permanently repeal the SGR.  We will provide up-to-date information as it is learned. 

Questions?  Please contact us at hpra@snm.org