Medicare payment cut delay removed from jobs bill
In an effort to shave the job-creation bill down from $85 billion to $15 billion, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday removed a provision that would have extended a delay to a 21.2 percent Medicare payment cut to doctors through October. The AMA is strongly opposed to the pay cut, citing that it provides only a temporary solution to the Medicare physician payment system.
Reid took some heat for striking the provision, however, and scoffed at criticisms that he was merely appeasing special interest groups.
"We feel that the American people need a message. The message that they need is that we're doing something about jobs," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The message is so watered down, with people wanting other things in this big package."
A provision to increase federal COBRA premium subsidies to laid-off employees also was removed.
"The COBRA provisions remain uncontroversial, and instead of going out on this train, they may go out on the next train," said Frank McArdle, a consultant with Hewitt Associates, according to BusinessInsurance.com. "Employers should expect the subsidy to be extended."