Congress averts Medicare cuts set to hit radiologists, sending final bill to president

UPDATED

The U.S. House finalized legislation in a 384-38 vote Tuesday, averting 2% Medicare pay cuts set to hit radiologists and other physicians. Following passage in the Senate, President Joe Biden signed the bill on Wednesday, April 14. 

Doc groups including the American Medical Association fought for the bill earlier this year, sending a letter to lawmakers cosigned by the American College of Radiology and Society of Interventional Radiology. AMA praised the move late Tuesday.

“The Senate and House, Democrats and Republicans, have overwhelmingly acknowledged that cutting Medicare payments during a pandemic is ill-conceived policy,” Susan Bailey, MD, said in a statement. “Physician practices are already distressed, and arbitrary 2 percent across-the-board Medicare cuts would have been devastating.”

Senators passed their own version in a 90-2 vote late last month, preventing some $12.3 billion in reimbursement reductions for doctors, hospitals and nursing homes over the next nine months. Congress previously delayed sequestration as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in December, but the extension expired March 31. CMS paused the processing of claims for dates of service on or after April 1 in anticipation of Tuesday’s action, which will prevent sequestration for the remainder of 2021.