Congress overrides White House veto of physician payment bill

July 15, 2008

President Bush vetoed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 Tuesday, giving the green light to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to start processing physician payment claims with a 10.6% cut. But backers of the legislation rapidly orchestrated a response in the House and Senate to override the veto later in the day.

President Bush vetoed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 Tuesday, giving the green light to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to start processing physician payment claims with a 10.6% cut. But backers of the legislation rapidly orchestrated a response in the House and Senate to override the veto later in the day.

The override vote of 383 to 41 in the House and 70 to 26 in the Senate surpassed the original tally.

HR 6331 repeals the physician payment cut scheduled by CMS's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which was to become effective July 1 but had been on hold following CMS's response to Congressional action. The bill also includes an accreditation requirement for providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services and an Appropriateness Criteria demonstration program.

The House passed HR 6331 June 24 by a tally of 355 to 59. The Senate approved the measure on July 9 by a vote of 69 to 30.

The American College of Radiology sent a letter last week to the 18 Republican senators who supported HR 6331 in anticipation of the White House move, asking them to override the veto.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

White House makes moves to veto Medicare physician payment bill

Senate passes Medicare bill to avert physician payment cuts

CMS calls for temporary hold on Medicare cuts

Senate fails to pass legislation to avoid physician payment cuts