Senate fails to spare doctors from Medicare cuts

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Stephen Ohlemacher
The Washington Times
6/18/2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a week of partisan wrangling, the Senate on Friday passed legislation to spare doctors a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments looming for months. But the last-ditch effort came too late.

Moments after the Senate acted, Medicare announced it would begin processing claims it has already received for June at the lower rate. The reason: the House cannot act on the fix until next week.

That means doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other providers who bill under Medicare’s physician fee schedule will have to resubmit their claims if they want to be made whole, with added paperwork costs both for the providers and for taxpayers…

…The Medicare cuts are required under a 1990s budget-cutting law that Congress has routinely waived. This time, lawmakers’ concerns about adding to the deficit held up a deal to allow an exception to enforcement of the law…

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