Memo

CHA Applauds House-Senate Agreement;Medicare Physician and Hospital Payment Cuts Avoided

On December 22, House and Senate leadership reached an agreement to postpone for two months the 27 percent Medicare payment cut to physicians set for implementation January 1, 2012.  The agreement also extends unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.  The House and Senate are expected to act on the agreement by unanimous consent December 23.

Unlike the proposal that passed the House last week, this two-month agreement is not financed by cuts to hospital payments.  CHA opposed the House financing mechanisms, which would have meant an additional $2 billion in Medicare cuts to hospitals over the next 10 years.  (Please see Dec. 9 and Dec. 19 CHA Advocacy Alerts at www.calhospital.org/oppose-medicare-medicaid-cuts and www.calhospital.org/oppose-hospital-cuts-finance-physicians).  CHA applauds the agreement reached today that will allow physicians to be paid a reasonable rate and avoids cuts to other health care providers.

The House and Senate have also agreed to continuing formal talks to reach a longer term agreement on the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for physician Medicare payments.

CHA thanks member hospitals for reaching out to the California congressional delegation during the past few weeks to ensure hospitals would not have to bear the brunt of financing the SGR fix.  As we move into 2012, we will need to remain vigilant.

Thank you and Happy Holidays.

Commands