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On Monday evening, the Senate passed H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which postpones the imminent 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut for 12 months, until April 1, 2015. Although many Senators spoke against passing this 17th Medicare payment patch, the Senate vote was 64 to 35. (Sixty votes were needed for passage.) The House passed an identical version of the bill by voice vote on March 27, and President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law.

The AMA and many other physician organizations, including over 80 state medical societies and national specialty societies, sent a letter on March 26 urging members of the House of Representatives to vote against the bill. The AMA sent a similar letter of strong opposition to the Senate on March 28.

Over the past year, bipartisan, bicameral policy was developed to eliminate SGR and reform the Medicare physician payment system, which is strongly supported by the AMA and over 600 medical organizations. The AMA is “extremely disappointed” in the actions by the House and Senate, and we will continue to urge Congress to return to the bipartisan process that produced the unprecedented agreement on Medicare physician payment and delivery system reform.

See an AMA section-by-section summary of H.R. 4302 for detailed information.

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