June 23, 2008
Congress is now under extreme pressure to act on Medicare legislation. The President and Congress must act by July 1 to extend the physician payment update (known as SGR). If Congress does not act, the Part B physician payment update will expire and reimbursement rates for physicians will be cut. Complicating this situation is the possibility of a Presidential veto.
This political imperative to act on Medicare has created the opportunity for Congress to move on a series of beneficiary improvements and protections – including a range of NAMI priorities such as adjustments to the Part D drug benefit and parity for cost sharing for outpatient services. On June 12, the Senate fell 6 votes short of moving on a Medicare bill (S 3101) developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).
The House is expected to vote on a similar package (HR 6331) on June 24. Among the critical NAMI priorities in both the House and Senate bills is:
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