Last Thursday, the Senate voted to delay until the end of the year a 25% cut to physician services provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

"The Senate’s action today to stop the Medicare cut for one month will help avert a health care access crisis for seniors that would have begun in just two weeks,” said Cecil Wilson, MD, president, American Medical Association.

The AMA urged the House to act on the legislation and pressured Congress to work on a long-term solution.

“Now the U.S. House must act on the legislation passed by the Senate before the December 1 deadline to preserve health care for America’s seniors,” Wilson said. “This is a short-term reprieve, and the AMA is urging Congress to pass a one-year fix as soon as they return from the Thanksgiving holiday. Delaying the 25 percent cut to the end of 2011 will inject some stability into the Medicare program for patients and physicians and provide lawmakers with time to develop a long-term solution to the broken physician payment system.”

"Earlier this fall, the ACCP, along with 65 national physician organizations and the AMA, asked Congress to prevent the Medicare payment cuts for at least 13 months, and indications are that this request now has bipartisan support in Congress," an update from the American College of Chest Physicians stated. "Further, bipartisan discussions are underway to identify acceptable funding offsets for a full 12-month reprieve that would be passed this December…"