Senate Approves Jobs Bill That Averts Planned Medicare Payment Cuts
On Tuesday, The Senate voted 78-19 to approve a jobs bill (HR 4691) that would extend unemployment benefits and avert cuts in Medicare physician reimbursements after Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) dropped objections that had stalled the bill, the Washington Post reports.
President Obama signed the bill into law late Tuesday (Pershing, Washington Post, 3/3).
The bill includes a 30-day extension of COBRA health care benefits for unemployed U.S. residents and aversion of a planned 21% cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians (Friedman, CongressDaily, 3/3).
However, Bunning's objections meant that the Medicare reimbursement cuts took effect on Monday, although CMS officials have essentially halted the cuts for 10 days (Oliphant, Los Angeles Times, 3/2).
According to the Post, Bunning's tactics forced nearly 2,000 federal employees into furloughs and jeopardized unemployment benefits for millions of U.S. residents (Washington Post, 3/3).
The Senate will now consider a $149 billion measure (HR 4213) to provide longer term extensions for some of the provisions in the bill. The legislation would continue some programs for the remainder of 2010 (CongressDaily, 3/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.