California Senate Bill 1526, which establishes licensure for sleep technologists, passed the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Monday. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support; every member of the Committee approved the legislation. The bill now moves to the the Committee on Appropriations. More information will be communicated to members as it becomes available.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) signed on as the lead Republican cosponsor of the "Save Medicare Act of 2008" (S.2785), which was introduced by Senator Debbie Stabenow, (D-Mich.). Currently, seven other senators have cosponsored the legislation: Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

This legislation would replace cuts totaling more than 15 percent with positive Medicare physician payment updates from July 1, 2008, through December 31, 2009. Specifically, S.2785 would extend the 0.5 percent update through December 31, 2008, averting the 10.6 percent cut scheduled to occur on July 1, 2008. It would also provide physicians with a 1.8 percent update for 2009 and extend the GPCI floor and physician scarcity area bonuses.

This bill would give Congress time to work on a long-term solution to the broken payment system without having to take multiple actions over the next 18 months to stop the pending cuts. The AASM is working with the AMA to support this bill, and encourages all members to contact your representatives about S.2785; you can use advocacy materials made available by the AMA: