Congress Targets Medicare Before Sequestration Deadline

Two key congressional committees have scheduled hearings this week related to Medicare changes as lawmakers scurry to prevent or prepare for the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect Friday.

Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will discuss changes to traditional Medicare's benefits, which may include ideas Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) voiced earlier this month that would merge Medicare Part A and B payments, according to a report by Kaiser Health News. Medicare Part A payments are for hospitals, while Part B payments are for physicians.

Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee will explore quality-based incentive payments in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with a presentation from Jonathan Blum, CMS' deputy administrator and director for the Center of Medicare.

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