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Archive for Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Congress overrides veto on Medicare

July 16, 2008

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— Congress on Tuesday rejected President Bush's veto of legislation protecting doctors from a 10.6 percent cut in their reimbursement rates when treating Medicare patients.

The override vote in the House was a lopsided 383-41, easily meeting the two-thirds threshold needed to nullify the president's veto. About an hour later, the Senate voted to override, 70-26.

Bush has vetoed bills nine times, and Congress has had the muscle to override him only on a water projects bill and twice on farm legislation.

Lawmakers were under pressure from doctors and the elderly patients they serve to void the rate cut, which kicked in July 1. The cut is based on a formula that establishes lower reimbursement rates when Medicare spending levels exceed established targets.

The president said he supported rescinding the pay cut, but he objected to the way lawmakers would finance the plan, largely by reducing spending on private health plans serving the elderly and disabled.

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