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ACP congratulates Congress on veto override of H.R. 6331
Date:7/16/2008

Washington "We congratulate Congress for its strong, bipartisan vote today to override President Bush's veto of H.R. 6331," Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP), enthusiastically said. "Clearly, overwhelming numbers of members of the House and the Senate understand how critical it is to improve care of patients and support both primary and preventive care."

Failure to enact the legislation would have resulted in an immediate 10.6 percent Medicare reimbursement cut required by law; another mandated 5.4 percent cut beginning January 1, 2009; and the denial of other improvements in coverage and payment policies for prevention and primary care.

"This has been a long and arduous process," noted Dr. Harris. "Last week, the Senate gave a 69-30 vote, bipartisan approval to legislation to avert cuts in Medicare physician payment updates. Last month, voting 355-59 for the same bill, the House was equally adamant about its support. The votes in both the Senate and House in favor of H.R. 6331 were clearly more than enough to override a presidential veto. We were disappointed it came to that. An immediate presidential signature following last week's Senate passage of the bill would have prevented a disruption of physician claims, creating uncertainty and cash flow problems for many practices."

ACP noted that the law doesn't just stop Medicare payment cuts to doctors, but also:

  • expands funding for a Medicare medical home demonstration project that will study the impact on quality and cost of an exciting new program to reimburse primary care physicians for care coordination;
  • increases payments for office and hospital visits;
  • authorizes Medicare to cover preventive services recommended by an expert advisory group; and
  • phases-in a reduction in co-payments for mental health benefits to reach parity with cost-sharing for other Medicare b
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Contact: David Kinsman
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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