Physicians got a brief reprieve from a 27.4 percent Medicare pay cut Friday when the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives each passed a two-month extension of several important policies that expire on Jan. 1.
The U.S. Senate last week voted to extend current Medicare payment rates for two months. After the House first balked at the two-month extension earlier in the week, the two chambers reached an agreement to extend the physician payment rates as well as the two percentage point Social Security payroll tax cut, and to extend unemployment benefits. A House-Senate conference committee will convene in January to work on a longer-term agreement.
At a press conference, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the goal is to extend all the expiring programs for a full year, except for the physician payment cut reprieve,which is to be extended for two years.