Updated: Deal would break out "doc fix" from extenders package
The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee reached agreement Thursday evening on a six-month Medicare "doc fix" that could open the way for the provision to pass as early as today, Senate sources tells The Hill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected to the agreement on the floor Thursday night but sources say that's because members had not yet been informed; Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) still hope to pass the provision by unanimous consent.
The agreement is to offset the 2.2 percent pay bump for doctors with pension provisions included in the substitute amendment filed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and a hospital payment provision that was included in the version the House passed right before the Memorial Day recess.
A 21.3 percent rate cut for doctors was scheduled to go into effect June 1, and the agency that oversees Medicare has called for a 10-day withholding of payments that has also expired.