Senate Invokes Cloture on Temporary SGR Patch

This afternoon, the Senate invoked cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 4851 by a vote of 60-34, which extends a number of expiring programs, including a reprieve from the 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut that was originally scheduled to take effect on January 1.  Other expiring programs addressed by the bill include extended unemployment insurance benefits and COBRA subsidies for the unemployed.  As of press time, no bipartisan deal has been reached to facilitate quick passage of H.R. 4851.  In the absence of such an agreement, under Senate procedure, a vote on final passage of the bill  may not occur until the end of this week.

As you know, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed its carriers to refrain from processing any claims for services provided on or after April 1 for 10 working days, to minimize administrative complications and other disruptions that would result from calculating payments that reflect a rate reduction that Congress is expected to overturn.  That 10 day grace period expires on Wednesday, April 14.  If Congress fails to pass H.R. 4851 or similar legislation by close of business on Wednesday, Medicare law will require carriers to begin processing claims for services provided in April with the 21 percent cut.  That said, we still expect Congress to pass legislation that retroactively restores payments to levels in place prior to April 1.


About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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