Congress Passes One-Year Medicare Fee-Fix; President's Signature Expected

Both Houses of Congress have approved a one-year Medicare fee-fix, which averts a 25 percent reimbursement cut for physicians, and President Obama is expected to sign it, according to a report by the Hill.

In rare bipartisan unanimity, the senate passed the measure on a voice vote and the House passed it by 409-2.

While he backs the one-year fix, President Obama has called for a permanent change in the SGR payment formula. "This agreement is an important step forward to stabilize Medicare, but our work is far from finished," the president said in a statement. "For too long, we have confronted this reoccurring problem with temporary fixes and stop-gap measures."

The one-year fix involves taking $19.2 billion in tax credits to buy health insurance out of the healthcare reform law. This requires changing how much money consumers would have to repay if their income status rises in the middle of the year, pushing them out of the eligibility bracket for tax credits. Under the reform law, consumers who earn less than 400 percent of poverty – about $88,200 for a family of four – are eligible for the tax credits to help buy insurance coverage on the new exchanges.

Last month, Congress approved a one-month fee-fix to allow Senate leaders a chance to work out a longer fee-fix.

Read the Hill report on the fee-fix.

Read more coverage of the Medicare fee-fix:

- Senate Approves One-Year Fee-Fix

- Bipartisan Plan for 1-Year Fee-Fix Would Take $19B Out of Reform Law

- GOP Might Tie Cutback of Reform to Physician Fee-Fix

- House Approves One-Month Fee-Fix, Following Senate Action

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