ACR urges Senate to override threatened presidential veto of Medicare bill

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Future of physician payments cuts is in the president’s hands. Source:  

President George W. Bush has indicated that he intends to veto the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, H.R. 6331, despite the fact that both Congress and the House of Representatives passed the legislation last week by a veto-proof margin.

Unless the bill is signed into law, Medicare will start to process claims with the 10.6 percent reimbursement cut starting July 15.

The Bush administration is currently trying to convince at least three of the eighteen Republicans who voted for the legislation to reverse their votes and sustain the upcoming veto, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Nine senators, who voted against identical legislation July 26, voted in favor of the bill on July 9, following an intense lobbying campaign by the ACR and other physician organizations.

In response to the president's efforts, the ACR sent a letter to the 18 Republican senators who supported the measure, thanking them for their vote and encouraging them to override the veto should it be issued.

The bill would repeal the physician payment cut called for by the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula that went into effect July 1 and includes an accreditation requirement for providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services and an Appropriateness Criteria demonstration program.