John Boehner says the House and Senate have cut a deal on another temporary patch to prevent a massive cut to doctors’ Medicare payments.
The bill is expected to be taken up in an expedited process in the House on Thursday, as part of a noncontroversial suspension calendar.
Doctors face a 24 percent cut in their Medicare payments if Congress doesn’t act by March 31. Medicare’s payment formula calls for ever-increasing cuts, which Congress always delays. Doctors would rather have a new formula than another stopgap.
The House speaker told reporters Wednesday that House and Senate efforts have not concluded in trying to find a longer-term fix. He said there is bipartisan, bicameral agreement on the path forward, only not yet on “how we’re ever going to pay for it.”
The House passed a $137 billion permanent fix on March 14, which relied on savings tied to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual insurance mandate. But that was rejected by Democrats who lead the Senate, and it faced a presidential veto threat.
The temporary, smaller bill includes spending offsets from reductions in other Medicare spending; also, some of its costs are paid for by realigning sequester savings set to occur in 2025 to 2024.
aportion of its costs.Specifically, a portion of the bill’s “savings” are achieved by simply shiftingsequester savings set to occur in 2025 into 2024, within the Congressional BudgetOffice’s scoring window, but this has zero actual impact on the debt
Specifically, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 would prevent the 24 percent cut in reimbursements to doctors who treat Medicare patients by replacing it on April 1 with adoption of a 0.5 percent update through Dec. 1. There would be no percentage changes for the three months following that through April 1, 2015.
Along with extending payments under what is formally known as the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula through March of 2015, the bill also includes funding for various other expiring Medicare provisions.
Much of this is paid for though provider cuts and the Medicare sequestration savings time shift tied to the $2.3 billion set-aside for SGR in the budget deal worked out in 2013. It also delays scheduled reductions in payments to so-called disproportionate-share hospitals by one year.
Other Medicare-related programs that would be extended for a year include the geographic practice cost index, the ambulance add-on payments, and the Medicare Advantage Special Needs Program. It also adopts market-based private-sector payment rates for lab services.
The bill also extends through 2015 the Special Diabetes Program and Abstinence Education and delays for one year implementation the ICD-10 coding system for diseases and treatment procedures under the Medicare program. That classification system is intended to ensure that hospitals are documenting the correct treatment and payments for those treatments.
What We're Following See More »
Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."
Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."
Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.
"Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right politician Marine Le Pen led the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, according to early projections, as voters redrew the political map, placing the European Union at the center of a new political divide. Projections by the Kantar-Sofres polling firm showed Mr. Macron on track to win the first round with about 24% of the vote, ahead of Ms. Le Pen with nearly 22%." The vote marks the end of the country's dominance by conservative and socialist parties. The top vote-getters head to a runoff on May 7.
President Trump will deliver the keynote address for at the National Holocaust Museum's National Day of Remembrance ceremony on Tuesday. He'll speak from the Capitol Rotunda. The move is likely an effort to try to mend fences with Jewish groups. In January, "the White House ignited controversy when it didn't mention Jews or anti-Semitism in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day." And certain members of his inner circle are still suspected of harboring white supremacist or anti-Semitic views."