Final Push to Add MPPR Repeal to Fiscal Cliff Bill Fails
As the U.S. House of Representatives considered the fiscal cliff deal passed by the Senate on New Year’s Day, the dissatisfaction of Republican members with the lack of spending cuts in the deal created one last chance to have the multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) on the professional component of radiology services addressed. However, in the end, the House leadership decided to hold a strict up or down vote on the fiscal cliff compromise without seeking to amend the deal, and the opportunity to add language to the bill to remove the MPPR died. RadPac tweeted “LONG day of negotiating w/ House R's to get MPPR bill in amendment for #fiscalcliff package vote" before the decision to do a straight up or down vote on an unamended version of the bill approved by the Senate was made. The bill, H.R. 8, was a tax extender bill that the House had already passed. The Senate then amended H.R. 8 to tack on a fiscal cliff deal that extended some tax cuts and put off the across the board mandatory government spending cuts known as the sequester. Among other provisions, it also put off application of the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for one year, avoiding a more than 27 percent cut to physician payments. The vote to concur with the Senate amendments to H.R. 8 came out 257 to 167 in favor and sent the deal to the president for signing into law. Other opportunities to address the MPPR may come in early 2013 when the government must act to raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on its loans. House members in particular have demonstrated their support for repealing the MPPR on the professional component until it can be studied. In 2012, a bill to do just that — H.R. 3269: Diagnostic Imaging Services Access Protection Act — amassed an astounding 269 cosponsors, but never made it out of committee for a vote.