Bill delaying Medicare cuts heads to Biden’s desk after House passage
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The House passed legislation Tuesday night on a 384-38 vote delaying a 2% across-the-board cut to Medicare payments for the rest of the year. The bill is now headed to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill is a big win for hospitals and providers.
The Medicare cuts originally took effect in 2013 as part of a package of automatic and annual budget cuts known as a sequester. Congress paused the sequester cuts to Medicare last year in response to the pandemic and its effect on providers’ finances, but that pause was scheduled to end this month.
Hospitals and providers argue the pandemic continues to hurt them financially, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
Providers are also pushing Congress to waive a 4% Medicare cut that could be triggered by the passage of the recent COVID-19 relief bill. Because the $1.9 trillion relief package raises the deficit, Medicare and other programs will face funding cuts next year under a federal law called PAYGO.
Democrats tried to waive PAYGO through the bill that delays the sequester cuts but that was blocked by Senate Republicans. During a floor speech Tuesday night, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), said Congress’ work “is not done” and he intends to introduce a separate bill aimed at forestalling the additional Medicare cuts. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) countered, saying that Democrats “dismissed” the fact the “bailout bill” will end up leading to $36 billion in Medicare cuts.