The Senate today clinched the approval of a bipartisan bill after an overwhelming vote. The bill was to allow for permanent repeal of Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR). The controversial formula had been a threat to cut physician payments. The whopping 92-8 vote in the Senate will now bring to an end more than a decade of legislative gridlock.
Apart from ending the gridlock, the vote will also move future reimbursement to include payment for performance. President Obama has since promised to sign the bill commonly referred to as Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).
The legislation has all the support from White House. Payments will increase by 0.5 percent annually through 2019. However, more Medicare payments would be tied to quality measures the likes of patient safety, clinical care as well as care coordination.
The Chief Executive Officer from the American Medical Association, Dr. James Madara has indicated that this is one of the historic legislations to be passed. “Uncertainty for Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians has come to an. In addition, implementation and facilitation of innovative care models will not be improved and at lower costs,” stated Madara.
Apart from the approval of spending policies that will benefit selected providers, the bill will also allow the extension of ChildrenHealth Insurance Program’s Health Insurance Program for another 2years.
Many people are going to look back into this day and appreciate that it was worth it. This is according to the ranking member of the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who spoke to the senate.
Democrats are however not happy with this deal that was between House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. They are upset by the failure to re-authorize CHIP. They are also not happy with the increased costs for Medicare enrollees.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) sought to have various amendments that had been presented to the floor but were largely defeated by a 58-42 margin.