• Senate Fails to Adopt the House-passed Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act
  • July 17, 2008
  • Law Firm: King & Spalding LLP - Atlanta Office
  • Thursday night, the Senate failed to adopt the House-passed Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act by a vote of 58-40 (with Majority Leader Reid switching his vote to no for procedural reasons). As with the vote on an iteration of the bill two weeks ago, nine Republicans voted for cloture on the motion to proceed: Coleman, Collins, Dole, Murkowski, Roberts, Smith, Snowe, Stevens voted in favor both times while Specter and Voinovich were the 9th vote for the earlier bill and last night's bill respectively. The Senate Republican Leadership whipped this vote hard, however, and otherwise kept their conference mostly intact despite the momentum coming from the strong bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

    Both sides continued to blame the other for the failure to adopt a Medicare bill to stave off physician payment cuts and extend other important provisions. Republicans for their part offered two measures (to which the Democrats objected) to extend provisions from December's enacted MMSEA beyond the July 1 deadline. The voters will decide in November where to lay the blame.

    In the meantime, Members will continue negotiations when they return from the July 4th recess. Although, as evidenced by the Deficit Reduction Act, there is precedence to adjust payments to providers retroactively, there at least will be bipartisan agreement that the process ahead is not ideal.