Earlier this week, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced S. 1776, the "Medicare Physicians Fairness Act of 2009," which Senate leadership announced will serve as the legislative vehicle for eliminating Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and laying the foundation for establishing a new Medicare physician payment update system. Without legislative intervention, a 21.5% cut to physician payments for Medicare covered services is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2010.

The bill will be considered for a procedural vote on Tuesday, Oct. 20; in order for the bill to receive full consideration by the Senate, 60 votes must secured during the procedural vote. If successful, a vote on final passage is expected to occur Thursday, Oct. 22 or Friday, Oct. 23.

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced today that it will run a television advertisement about S. 1776 this weekend in Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, Alaska, Indiana and Georgia. Additionally, the AMA Legislative Action Center has resources physicians can utilize to communicate with their Senators regarding S. 1776.