Bracing for 'Cliff's' Fiscal Freefall, White House Hopes to Kill $10B Medicare Cut

After a meeting with Congressional leaders last week to reach a bipartisan budget agreement, President Obama said if no deal were reached, he would ask Senate Democrats to put a stopgap bill on the floor that would do something, though little, to avoid the worst of the budget sequestrations should the nation fall off the now-infamous "fiscal cliff."

Among the president's priorities is to pass legislation that would prevent $10 billion in cuts to Medicare payments to physicians, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Even if the Senate were to pass the bill, there would be no guarantee the Republican-controlled House would do the same without broad bipartisan support in the upper house, according to the report.

Physicians advocacy groups such as the Alliance of Specialty Medicine have called on Congress to pass a permanent solution to replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate, which was designed in 2003 to limit spending growth in Medicare payments but which Congress has overridden with either increasing or maintaining higher rates each year since the SGR was first introduced.

Without passing permanent legislation to replace the SGR, Medicare payment rates would fall drastically to the lower, slower-growing rate.

More Articles on Medicare Cuts:

White House to Host Meeting to Discuss Fiscal Cliff
Sequestration, Medicare Cuts: Likely Result From Fiscal Cliff Talks
CMS Chief Actuary to Retire in January

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