On Dec 14th the House Ways and Means (http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=364226) (39-0) and Senate Finance Committees (http://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=d07b4651-5056-a032-5283-5915780f0ccf) (voice vote) passed legislation to repeal and replace the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The actions of the committees mark a major milestone in Congress' efforts to repeal the SGR as it clears the way for legislation to be considered before the full House and Senate next year.
Meanwhile, in a rare bi-partisan show of unity, the House passed (332-94) a budget package (http://budget.house.gov/the-bipartisan-budget-act-of-2013/) that includes a temporary "bridge" that will avert for 3 months an estimated 24% cut to Medicare physician reimbursements. The package also included a 0.5 percent update for providers over that same time period. The Senate is expected to take up and pass the House budget package next week before breaking for winter recess. NASS will continue to keep you apprised on the latest updates from Capitol Hill on these important matters as they become available.