Congress overrides Bush veto on Medicare bill, stalling cuts

As expected, Congress has overridden President Bush's veto of a bill that will, among other things, block the planned 10.6 percent in Medicare reimbursements for physicians. The veto was overturned with plenty of votes to spare in both chambers, with House members voting 383 to 41 for an override and Senators voting 70 to 26 in favor of the override. Both tallies were far more than the two-thirds needed. Part of the reason the measure survived President Bush's veto was that a number of Republicans voted against the President's position, perhaps because industry lobbyists pushed extremely hard for the override. Democrats behind the legislation say that reversing the fee cut will prevent doctors from exiting the Medicare program in droves--some of which is happening already, but might have gotten worse with the cut.

The bill reversed the 10.6 percent cut that would have gone into effect July 1st, instead cutting fees to Medicare managed care plans. Over the next five years, these plans will pay $14 billion. The bill will only postpone the pay cut for 18 months, however, guaranteeing that the next president will face this issue again relatively early in his term.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Washington Post article

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