Bill delaying Medicare payment cuts passes Senate

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The Senate passed legislation March 25 that will delay $18 billion in Medicare payment cuts through the end of the year. 

The bill prevents a 2 percent federally mandated Medicare sequester cut from taking place. The federal payment cut was created in 2011 by the Budget Control Act to reduce federal spending by more than a trillion dollars by fiscal year 2021. The cuts target all industries, but Medicare spending specifically is subject to a cut of 2 percent annually. 

Congress initially delayed the 2 percent payment cut in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through the end of 2020 and later extended the moratorium on the payment cut to March 31. 

The passage of the bill in the Senate comes after providers urged Congress to further extend the moratorium on the payment cuts. Hospital groups argued the cuts would be "devastating" to providers, who are still responding to the pandemic. 

The bill is expected to pass the House and head to President Joe Biden for his signature. 

"America's hospitals and health systems thank the U.S. Senate for working in a bipartisan manner today to extend relief from pending Medicare cuts to doctors and hospitals that would have gone into effect in just a few days," the American Hospital Association stated. 

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