The House of Representatives voted 392-37 for a permanent “doc fix” in favor of repealing the sustainable growth rate formula. The bill will go to the Senate for a vote. If approved, President Obama has said he will sign it. 

The Senate adjourned for spring break on Friday and won’t take the matter up until mid-April. Automatic cuts in reimbursement by 21.2%  were slated to take effect on April 1, but CMS has said it can delay the processing of claims for a period of time until the new rates take effect.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the $214 billion solution includes a set of Medicare cuts and revenues, a 2-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) and new funding for community health centers—a third of which is paid for, the rest adding to the federal deficit.  

Our Take: For years lawmakers have avoided the policy issue that could lead to deep cuts in Medicare reimbursement to physicians, instead providing short-term, temporary measures to keep payments stable. Establishing a permanent “doc fix” provides a firmer footing under Medicare, reducing uncertainty among providers working in a healthcare system in flux.

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