Senators oppose additional imaging cuts

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Thirty U.S. senators penned a bipartisan letter on Nov. 1 to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mo., and Ranking Member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, stating their opposition to additional medical imaging cuts as the committee continues to form its version of Medicare legislation this fall.

The letter, drafted by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., addressed cuts included in the House-passed CHAMP Act and stated, “These reductions are being proposed on top of the $13 billion of recently implemented cuts in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005…we hope that you will oppose additional cuts to these critical medical services proposed by the House.”

The appeal was made as lawmakers work to halt a looming 10 percent cut in overall physician reimbursement under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The Senate and the House have characterized the imminent 2008 SGR cut as “must pass” legislation which will serve as a vehicle for other changes to the Medicare program, according to the American College of Radiology.

The senators who signed the letter included: Herb Kohl, D-Wisc.; Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.; Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; John Cornyn, R-Texas;  Ken Salazar, D-Colo.; Norm Coleman, R-Minn.; and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.