Tags: US | Medicare | Fee | Cut

Pelosi Wants Docs' Fee Boost, Jobs Money Combined

Monday, 21 Jun 2010 03:56 PM

 

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The top House Democrat says her chamber won't vote on Senate legislation to reverse a cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the bill — it would reverse a 21 percent cut on Medicare doctor fees that was imposed on Friday — has to include elements of the Democrats' jobs agenda.

The move by the California Democrat appears aimed at pressuring the Senate to break a logjam on long-sought legislation to extend unemployment benefits and give money to states to help them avoid additional layoffs and furloughs. That bill is stuck on the Senate floor because of a GOP filibuster.

The Senate passed the doctor fee fix as a stand-alone measure on Friday after a GOP filibuster killed the bigger jobs-related measure the night before. The measure would only forestall the cuts — they are required under a 1990s budget-cutting law that Congress has routinely waived — for six months.

The House passed legislation to prevent the cuts from going into effect through the end of next year.

"The bill Senate Republicans allowed to pass is not only inadequate with respect to physician fees, but it ignores urgent sections of the House bill to provide jobs," Pelosi said in a statement. "I see no reason to pass this inadequate bill until we see jobs legislation coming out of the Senate."

The Senate bill would also increase payments to providers by 2.2 percent. The legislation, which costs about $6.5 billion, is paid for with a series of health care and pension changes that Democrats and Republicans agreed to.

The larger package stalled in the Senate includes jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, $24 billion in aid to cash-strapped states and the extension of dozens of popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals that expired at the end of last year.

Republicans said it's wrong to hold up the physician fee fix to win passage of additional spending items like a summer jobs initiative.

"Seniors' access to health care is being held hostage to the Democrats' deficit-spending addiction," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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