A stalled Congressional decision could mean a 27% cut in Medicare pay for doctors.
The House of Representatives voted 229 to 193 against a Senate payroll tax bill that contained measures to delay cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
The slashes are an accumulation of gradual cuts that have been delayed by Congress in a series of efforts colloquially called the "doc fix."
Without remedy, physician stand to lose nearly one-third of their reimbursement payments starting Jan. 1, and the Senate isn’t likely to reconvene before the end of the year to work on the issue.
"Don’t kid yourself — the Senate is not coming back," Rep. Diana Degette (D-Colo.) said on the House floor this morning. "This motion effectively kills the bill."
The measure was sent to the House after passing through the Senate on Saturday. The bill would maintain physicians’ Medicare payments and extend payroll tax cuts for 2 months.
House Republicans denied the legislation, calling for longer-term measures like the bill passed by the House last week, which extends bot the tax cut and the Medicare pay fix for one year.
The House bill, which President Barack Obama threatened to veto, hasn’t gathered much favor with the Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) calling it "dead on arrival."
In the past, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid has taken steps to ensure that physician payments remain intact, going so far as to delay processing reimbursements for up to a month to give Congress time to sort out a new strategy, MedPage Today reported.