Cloture on the motion to proceed on Senator Stabenow’s (D-Michigan) bill, "The Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009" (S1776) failed yesterday by a vote of 47-53. All Republicans voted in opposition along with 13 Democrats. It needed to achieve 60 votes for cloture.
S1776 would have permanently eliminated the SGR formula beginning in 2010, thereby stopping all future scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to physicians.
Both the House and Senate bills contain provisions to fix the SGR. The Senate Finance bill contains a one-year fix of the SGR by replacing the planned 21.5% cut with a 0.5% payment increase for 2010, at a cost of about $11 billion. The House bill contains a permanent repeal of the SGR, replacing it with a new formula designed to provide pay increases for physicians (with higher cost growth rates for primary care fields).