April 15, 2015

The Senate on April 14 passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which eliminates the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) physician payment system and transitions it away from fee-for-service payments to a value-based purchasing system. The bill includes provisions that affect a variety of health care policy areas and is the most significant health care legislation since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation, which passed the House with a vote of 392 – 37 on March 26, will prevent a 21 percent cut in Medicare physician payments that would have been implemented today. The bill amends cost-sharing requirement for some Medicare beneficiaries, extends a number of Medicare provisions and reauthorizes the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. Before voting 92 – 8 to pass the bill as passed by the House, the Senate rejected six amendments. Under the unanimous consent agreement that governed the rules of debate, the amendments, with the exception of the amendment offered by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) needed 60 votes to pass.

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