In a historic triumph for ASA, a law has been enacted that will reverse Medicare payment cuts for 2008, provide a 1.1% positive update for 2009, and permanently restore full Medicare payment to anesthesiology teaching programs beginning in 2010!
Earlier today President Bush vetoed H.R. 6331. This afternoon, however, both chambers of Congress voted overwhelmingly to override the veto--the House by a vote of 383-41 and the Senate by a vote of 70-26—meaning that the legislation has now become law.
“The enactment of H.R. 6331 marks a tremendous victory for the medical specialty of anesthesiology and all of organized medicine,” said ASA President Jeffrey L. Apfelbaum, M.D. “Anesthesiologists help make modern medicine possible, and this new law will help ensure seniors’ access to their life-saving medical care.”
The bill includes many critical Medicare provisions, several of which are vital to anesthesiology. Of particular importance, the legislation:
Blocks Medicare payment cuts for 18 months through December 31, 2009 and provides a 1.1% positive Medicare payment update for 2009. The bill’s 18-month fix provides time for Congress to develop an alternative update mechanism to address the additional Medicare payment cuts still projected for 2010 and beyond.
Restores full Medicare payment to anesthesiology teaching programs beginning in 2010 by including the language of S. 2056, authored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), with bipartisan cosponsorship from 29 additional Senators, as well as H.R. 2053, authored by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and cosponsored by 127 additional Representatives.
Extends the 1.0 floor on the work GPCI through December 31, 2009.
Increases the PQRI bonus to 2.0% for 2009 and 2010 for physicians who choose to participate in the program.
ASA applauds Ways and Means Committee chair Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Energy and Commerce Committee chair John Dingell (D-MI) for authoring H.R. 6331, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for moving the bill through the House. On the Senate side, ASA is extremely grateful for the leadership of Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Max Baucus (D-MT). ASA also sincerely appreciates Sen. Rockefeller, Sen. Kyl, Rep. Becerra, and the 157 other Members of Congress who worked to ensure the continued viability of anesthesiology teaching programs by supporting H.R. 2053 and S. 2056 through direct sponsorship of these bills.
Further, ASA commends Component Society leaders, Key Contacts, committee members, officers, and other ASA members who contacted their lawmakers in support of the legislation. We are also grateful to the AMA and the federation of medicine for their strong efforts supporting this bill.
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