Legislative Alert

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus crafting legislation that would provide positive Medicare payment updates through 2009 and make other needed reforms ASA has learned that the Senate will soon publicly release legislation that would provide a positive Medicare payment update to physicians through 2009.  The bill would avert a disastrous 10.6% Medicare Part B cut on July 1, 2008.  We also expect the bill to include other important programmatic reforms, such as the language of S. 2056.  This bi-partisan measure, originally introduced by Sens. John Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and cosponsored by 30 Senators, would provide needed reform to address the Medicare anesthesiology teaching rule 50% payment penalty.  The future integrity of Medicare demands that our anesthesiology training programs be saved from additional closures.

ASA members should be prepared to take immediate action in early June to call on all Senators to support this important bill, and to assure advancement of language that would restore full Medicare payment to anesthesiology teaching programs. The final bill will likely be crafted over the Memorial Day Congressional recess, and a formal ASA “call to action” will be forthcoming shortly.   

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is championing this measure and has indicated that he is committed to addressing Medicare concerns despite a challenging budget climate.  The legislation is necessary to maintain the integrity of the Medicare program for patients throughout the country and prevent payment cuts that would cut patient care.  It would allow physicians to continue providing excellent and uninterrupted medical care for Medicare beneficiaries on July 1st and thereafter.

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