House passes bill to halt millions in Medicare payment cuts

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The House March 19 passed legislation that would prevent a 2 percent Medicare sequester cut through the end of the year and avert payment cuts triggered by the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, according to Bloomberg Law.

The legislation, passed in the House by a 246-175 vote, now heads to the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to pass. 

If the bill does not pass in the Senate, the Medicare sequester cuts will resume April 1.

The federal payment cut, created in 2011 by the Budget Control Act, was intended to cut 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 then extended the moratorium on the payment cut to March 31. 

The bill, H.R. 1868, also would exempt the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill from deficit-reducing requirements under a "pay-as-you-go" law, according to the report. Currently, unless Congress passes spending cuts by the end of 2021, $36 billion in cuts to Medicare are expected under the pay-as-you-go law.

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