December 19,2007

Baucus-Grassley Medicare Bill to Become Law, Includes Help for Rural Seniors, Payment Update

Finance leaders will revisit broad Medicare reform in second session of 110th

Washington, DC – Medicare legislation authored by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is now slated to become law, after its
approval by the House of Representatives this afternoon. The Baucus-Grassley Medicare bill will
stop a ten percent cut in Federal reimbursement of Medicare doctors for six months and provide a half-percent update in payments, and will extend a number of expiring provisions including
measures to ensure rural seniors’ access to care. The bill also extends authorization for the
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through March 31, 2009, and extends funding for
Transitional Medicaid Assistance and special diabetes programs. Following today’s House
action, the bill now moves to the White House for signature into law.

“This bill promises America’s seniors, and particularly those in rural areas, access to their
doctors and to quality health care as the new year begins,”
Baucus said. “But the Finance
Committee will move aggressively on broader Medicare reform in the next session of
Congress. Changes that make every part of Medicare better for seniors are sorely needed.
A hard look at Medicare Advantage is now overdue. Work on comprehensive Medicare
legislation will continue and see completion in the early part of 2008.”

Grassley said, “This bill includes essential policies for the government to make sure doctors
can continue to treat Medicare beneficiaries and to preserve health care services in rural
areas of the country. It’s a six-month extension that serves as a stop-gap until Congress can
take care of the important Medicare business that got backed up this fall. This package also
tells states what they need to know for the year ahead as they administer the children’s
health insurance programs that low income families with children rely on. The longer extension of SCHIP will allow Congress to enter the new year with a renewed focus on reauthorization while also providing funding certainty to states.”

A summary of the Medicare provisions can be found in the printer-friendly version of this release.

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