The House passed the doc fix on Thursday before leaving town for the recess. The 392-37 vote in the House represented a rare bipartisan agreement on a tough issue. However, the Senate has postponed voting on the issue until they return after a break. The plan is to vote on the bill soon after hey return on April 13th after a 2 week break.
The legislation would end the annual scramble by lawmakers to pass a temporary patch to keep the payments from plummeting. Congress has been struggling with what both parties call a "flawed formula" since lawmakers enacted it in 1997. The law set rates for payments to Doctors who treat Medicare patients that are tied to an index. Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare has been rising much faster than any other 'indexes', and under the law, the government would be required to cut physician's pay 22% this year to be in line with the requirements of the law. For years and years, Congress has been putting a Band aid on this law, passing a one-year temporary fix year after year after year. This new legislation permanently changes the law and finally addresses the problem that the law created in the first place. It's about time! Now all we need is for the Senate to pass it!