Washington After a week of partisan wrangling, the Senate on Friday passed legislation to spare doctors a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments looming for months. But the last-ditch effort came too late.
Moments after the Senate acted, Medicare announced it would begin processing claims it has already received for June at the lower rate. The reason: the House cannot act on the fix until next week.
That means doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other providers who bill under Medicare’s physician fee schedule will have to resubmit their claims if they want to be made whole, with added paperwork costs both for the providers and for taxpayers.
AARP, the seniors’ lobby, called the cut “unprecedented” and “dangerous” even if it’s only temporary. Nancy LeaMond, the group’s executive vice president, warned it would undermine confidence in the stability of the giant health care program for 46 million elderly and disabled people.