National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Background on the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008
June 23, 2008
Congress is now under extreme pressure to act on Medicare legislation. The President and Congress must act by July 1 to extend the physician payment update (known as SGR). If Congress does not act, the Part B physician payment update will expire and reimbursement rates for physicians will be cut. Complicating this situation is the possibility of a Presidential veto.
This political imperative to act on Medicare has created the opportunity for Congress to move on a series of beneficiary improvements and protections – including a range of NAMI priorities such as adjustments to the Part D drug benefit and parity for cost sharing for outpatient services. On June 12, the Senate fell 6 votes short of moving on a Medicare bill (S 3101) developed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).
The House is expected to vote on a similar package (HR 6331) on June 24. Among the critical NAMI priorities in both the House and Senate bills is: