AHL’s TOP STORY: Payroll Tax/’Doc Fix’ Conference Committee Reaches Tentative Deal
The conference committee charged with developing an extension of the payroll tax cut, continuing unemployment benefits and delaying scheduled cuts to Medicare physician reimbursement rates on Tuesday came to a tentative agreement, the New York Times reports (Steinhauer, New York Times, 2/14). Members of the committee and their aides said the deal still is being finalized, but they are optimistic that an agreement would be announced on Wednesday and approved by Friday (Kane/Nakamura, Washington Post, 2/14).
The announcement came just one day after House Republicans said they would introduce legislation this week to extend the payroll tax break through the end of the year without cost offsets (New York Times, 2/14).
The tentative agreement would allow Medicare to continue paying physicians at current rates, avoiding a 27.4% reduction in fees set to start on March 1 (Bendavid/Peterson, Wall Street Journal, 2/15). According to aides, the “doc fix” would delay the scheduled cuts for 10 months (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 2/14). The provision is expected to cost about $20 billion (Walker, MedPage Today, 2/14).
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