The Senate voted 90-2 on March 25 to pass an amended H.R. 1868 that would extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester. The vote follows House passage of the original legislation on March 19 that both extended the sequester moratorium and provided relief from impending statutory Pay-As-You-Go cuts [see Washington Highlights, March 19]. The AAMC and other health care stakeholders have previously supported continuing the moratorium [see Washington Highlights, March 12].
Earlier in the week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that they had reached an agreement to extend the sequester moratorium, which would be offset by extending the sequester into the 2031 budget window, and also make two technical corrections related to rural health clinics and disproportionate share hospitals. The amendment (#1410) was proposed by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who had introduced legislation similar to the compromise on March 15.
The House must now pass the amended legislation, and it is expected that they will consider it upon their return in mid-April. While the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester is slated to expire on March 31, members of Congress and health care stakeholders have urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to hold Medicare claims until Congress is able to complete action on the legislation.