Senate passes 'doc fix' ahead of Monday night's deadline

The Senate passed the so-called "doc fix" to patch the Medicare provider formula, which staves off a 24 percent cut that would have gone into effect Monday night.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- The Senate voted Monday to pass the one-year patch to prevent a major cut in Medicare payments to providers on the final day before the deadline.

Voting 64 to 35, the Senate passed the same measure passed last week by the House of Representatives, which would stave off a 24 percent cuts to Medicare providers that would have gone into effect at midnight.

Lawmakers tried for months to pass a permanent fix to the deeply unpopular sustainable growth-rate formula, which has now been avoided 18 times in the past 11 years. Many Democrats, including Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who led the effort to negotiate a permanent repeal of the SGR payment formula, opposed the one-year "doc fix" patch, fearing it would undo their long-term efforts.

Wyden's proposal will cost $180.2 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and does not yet have an offset.

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