This evening, the House of Representatives passed HR 3630, the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011,” by a vote of 234 to 193.
In addition to proposals to extend the pay-roll tax cut and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs, the bill included a proposal to provide two years of Medicare SGR relief with one percent increases in each year.
The Senate Democratic leader has indicated that the House proposal does not have the support to prevail in the Senate. Additionally, the White House today announced that should the President be presented with the bill, he would veto it. Senate and White House objections mostly revolve around provisions used to pay for the House bill as well as a provision requiring the President to make a determination on the future of the controversial Keystone pipeline.
AMA, CMA, and county medical societies did not support the House bill. We noted in a statement issued last week that the two year extension and modest updates would provide needed stability for physicians. However, the continued utilization of so-called “cliff financing” to hold the cost of the SGR provision to $39 billion would result in a 2014 payment cut of 37% and increase the cost of repealing the SGR by more than $60 billion to a total of greater than $350 billion.
In the coming days, the Senate will likely unveil their proposal to address the pay-roll tax, UI, and the SGR. We will continue to provide you with updates as the final days of the current session of Congress wind down.
CMA is in close contact with our Senators as they develop the Senate alternative this week. Please continue those calls and emails to Senators Feinstein and Boxer. Please ask your Medicare patients to make calls as well by using the CMA patient flyer on our website. Congress cannot go home without stopping the Medicare SGR fee-for-service payment cut!
Please use the AMA hotline at (800) 833-6354. Enter your ZIP code and it will automatically connect you to your Representative. Please call the hotline again to reach Senators Boxer and Feinstein. You can also send emails via https://writerep.house.gov
. The sheer volume of calls is important so Congress knows you are watching closely and they must act.