House passes bill to grant 9-month extension to a moratorium on Medicare payment sequester cuts

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The House on Friday passed a bill that extends by nine months a moratorium on Medicare payment cuts installed by the sequester. (Getty Images/Bill Chizek)

The House passed a bill Friday by a vote of 246 to 175 that grants a nine-month extension of a moratorium on Medicare payment cuts imposed by the sequester.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, which must pass it before the current moratorium on the 2% cuts expires on March 31.

Provider groups have been imploring Congress to pass another extension to the moratorium, which was first passed as part of the CARES Act. They have claimed that the moratorium needs to be extended as providers are still facing the financial impact of the pandemic.

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Congress first extended the moratorium on the cuts as part of a spending package approved in December.

“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will extend well beyond the first quarter of this year and, absent additional congressional intervention, these harmful payment cuts will be re-imposed on April 1, 2021,” the American Medical Association wrote in a letter to congressional leaders on March 5.

This the latest move by Congress to help providers combat the financial impact of the pandemic.

A $1.9 trillion relief package signed into law earlier this month includes $8.5 billion in funding for rural hospitals, which have been hit hard financially by the pandemic.