With less than a week to go before a 10.6 percent cut takes effect in the amount Medicare reimburses participating doctors, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to reverse the cut, the Associated Press reported.
Despite a threatened veto from President Bush, the bill passed 355-59. While the measure has the support of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacists, insurers oppose it. Under the legislation, the funding shortfall would be made up by cutting payments to private health insurers, the wire service said.
About 600,000 U.S. doctors care for Medicare participants. Payments had been set to drop by 10.6 percent on July 1, the result of a formula that triggers cuts after spending exceeds certain budgetary limits.
Under the bill passed Tuesday, payments to private insurers would be cut by almost $14 billion over five years.
Without its passage, many in Congress feared that medical care for seniors and the disabled on Medicare would be compromised as a growing number of doctors refused to see them, the AP reported.