The House on Wednesday voted 395-34 to approve a $636.3 billion defense appropriations bill (HR 3326) that contains measures to delay cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates.
The defense bill was the last of 12 appropriations measures awaiting passage by both chambers of Congress and was the mechanism used to pass other measures before the House adjourns. The Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on the bill Friday, with a vote on final passage likely coming Saturday, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
The spending bill also would provide funding to avert for two months a planned cut in Medicare payments to physicians. Congress is expected to resume discussions of the issue next year. In November, the House voted to approve a $210 billion bill (HR 3961) that would avert the scheduled 21% cut in Medicare payments for physicians and create a new, permanent formula for doctors’ Medicare payments. In October, the Senate rejected similar legislation (S 1776). The cuts were planned for January but would be delayed until March under the defense bill.