President Bush today vetoed “The Medicare Improvement for Patient and Providers Act of 2008” (H.R. 6331), which would stave off a 10.6 percent cut in reimbursement to physician payments for Medicare services.
The Senate last week by a 69-30, bipartisan, veto-proof majority, passed H.R. 6331, and the House had passed the legislation by a vote of 355-59.
According to a statement issued by President Bush’s office, he supports the basic premise of the legislation, but has reservations about certain aspects of the legislation. Notably, Bush cited his opposition to provisions for the Medicare Advantage (MA) Private Fee for Service (PFFS) program.
According to published reports, the House and Senate are expected to act quickly on an override. House Democratic leaders expressed their confidence in an override of the veto and indicated they have enough support to do so. According to the New York Times, because Democrats have a narrower advantage in the Senate, “there are lingering possibilities for true political drama.” While the vote exceeded the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the president’s veto, it is uncertain if nine Republican Senators who supported the legislation will hold their position on the bill.
Members are encouraged to utilize the American Medical Association’s Grassroots hotline and call their elected officials to voice their support for an override of President Bush’s veto of H.R. 6331; call (800) 833-6354 to be connected. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine will keep members abreast of developments via www.aasm.org.