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Medicare Fee Cut Averted!

The Senate returned this week from the fourth of July recess and, on 07/09/08, passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331). This averts the July 1 reduction to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The January fee schedule continues to be valid for the remainder of 2008. This Act also provides for a 1.1% increase to the physician fee schedule for 2009.

Technically, the legislation still requires the President’s signature. However, due to the number of votes in favor of the bill, should the President veto it, enough support exists to override the veto. The underlying problem of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is not addressed in this legislation which means this is another temporary fix. Physicians could face a large fee reduction in 2010 if a permanent fix to this problem is not developed in the next 18 months.

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