US House/Senate Approaching Deal on Delaying Physician Cuts, Payroll Tax

House and Senate leaders have agreed on legislation to be voted on by their respective colleagues that delays a cut to Medicare fees to physicians.

By passing that legislation, physicians will avoid a 27 percent cut for another 10 months, the payroll tax holiday will be extended for one year, and unemployment insurance will be extended. According to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, the physician fix has to be offset, but the proposal does not include any cuts to home care or hospice and does not include any home care copay.

What it does include is cutting Medicare bad debt payments for hospitals and nursing homes by about $6.9 billion over ten years; cutting clinical lab payments by $2.7 billion; rebasing Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments to save more than $4 billion; cutting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prevention fund by $5 billion; and eliminating extra federal money provided by the ACA to Louisiana Medicaid, saving $2.5 billion.

As reported in a previous newsfeed post, the President’s proposed budget does include home care cuts and copays, which, if approved, would come on top of scheduled cuts from the affordable care act and a 2% cut from the federal budget sequestration process.

Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the deal today (Friday, February 17) and the President will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk.

For more information on the “physician fix” and payroll tax legislation, see stories from the Associated PressCNN, and USA Today.

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