MGMA Washington Connexion, March 21, 2010
House approves 2 bills addressing final healthcare reform bills; legislation returns to Senate
Late Sunday night, the House of Representatives passed two bills, culminating their effort to approve final healthcare reform legislation. Initially, the House passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the bill approved by the Senate last December. This bill passed by a vote of 219 to 212. MGMA did not support the bill when it was originally considered by the Senate. The president is expected sign H.R. 3590 into law shortly.
Following that vote, the House then passed H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, by a vote of 220 to 211. This legislation modifies the Senate bill (H.R. 3590), and H.R. 4872 serves as the foundation of changes made by Congress to the current healthcare delivery, payment and insurance system.
MGMA previously informed Congress that the Association did not support this final healthcare reform package. The bills fail to address MGMA’s healthcare reform principles, including the pending 21.3 percent cut to Medicare physician payment and the repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
Without further congressional intervention, the current freeze to the Medicare conversion factor still expires on March 31.
H.R. 4872 now goes to the Senate, where a simple majority is needed to approve the bill. Senate Republicans have stated their intention to offer numerous amendments and raise multiple points of order to the legislation. If the bill is changed in any way prior to Senate approval, it must return to the House for an additional vote before the president can sign it.