Bush vetoes Medicare bill; Senate, House expected to quickly override

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Bush vetoes Medicare bill. Source: CBS News  

President George W. Bush today vetoed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, H.R. 6331. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, which delayed implementing the 10.6 percent physician payment cuts until today, will immediately start processing claims under the previously scheduled policy.

The White House said it does not oppose the pay for doctors, but does object to the way the legislation would finance the plan.

Despite the veto-proof margin—355 to 59 in the House and 69 to 30 on a key procedural vote in the Senate—the president said he was committed to opposing the bill, according to White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

“Congress refuses to look at ways to rein in costs to the Medicare program, and any single effort to do so they choose to turn into partisan fight,” Fratto said Monday.

An override could come in the House, which passed the bill by a wide margin, as early as this afternoon, with the Senate following soon after, according to Congressional Quarterly (CQ).

Regan Lachapelle, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Senate will “act shortly after the House acts.” According to CQ Today, both chambers are expected to retain the two-thirds majorities necessary to override the president's veto.