As it reconvenes this week, Congress will consider proposed cuts to Medicare physician payments as part pf the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

A bill approved last month by the U.S. House addresses both these issues, but a bill passed by the Senate focuses solely on SCHIP reauthorization. Now both chambers of Congress must come to an agreement on provisions in the final legislation.

The American Medical Association (AMA), with the support of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), is aggressively lobbying lawmakers to expedite the conference process and finalize a bill to both stop the Medicare payment cuts and reauthorize SCHIP.While it is not yet known whether SCHIP and Medicare legislation will advance in one bill or as separate legislative packages, the AMA is framing negotiating positions for members of Congress that focus on:

  • Increased funding for SCHIP to cover all eligible children
  • A positive payment update for all physicians treating Medicare patients
  • Extending expiring provisions governing physician payments in rural areas
  • Eliminating restrictions on physician-owned hospitals
  • Opposing additional cuts for imaging services

More information will be communicated to AASM members on the Web site.