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House Passes Medicare Relief Through 2012 - Please Send Messages to Congress on This Issue Now!

Dec 16, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed H.R. 3630, the "Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act of 2011." Section 2202 of the bill extends the following Medicare add-on payments for ambulances through December 31, 2012:

  • 2% for urban ground ambulance services
  • 3% for rural ground ambulance services
  • An increase in the base rate for ambulance trips originating in "super rural" areas, as calculated by the Secretary (currently 22.6%)

The bill also requires two reports on whether or not the ambulance fee schedule should be reformed - one from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and one from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).

The payment provisions are embedded in a larger bill (H.R. 3630) that: 1) adjusts the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for 2 years - in effect, preventing a 27.4% reduction in physician Medicare payments and instead providing a 1% payment increase; 2) extends unemployment insurance benefits and the Social Security payroll tax reduction; and 3) addresses an array of other issues. The bill's cost is offset in part through Medicare payment reductions to hospitals and $8 billion in cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund over 10 years.

President Obama has indicated he would veto the bill in its current form. As a result, negotiations are ongoing between the House and Senate on how to reach a compromise deal before adjourning for the holidays.

We will continue to keep you posted on developments related to the ambulance provisions. In the meantime, please continue to send messages to your congressional leaders on this issue through Capwiz.  Click here to access Capwiz now.