Bill Blocking Medicare Pay Cuts to Docs Stalls in Senate

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

Time after time, Congress has jumped in at the last minute to block Medicare payment cuts to doctors. Will this be the time when time runs out?

A bill to block a 10.6% reduction in Medicare reimbursements stalled in the Senate yesterday. The cuts will take effect on July 1 — and a weeklong congressional recess starts tomorrow.

Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that the cuts are a bad thing. And a bill blocking them passed the House by an overwhelming 355-to-59 vote.

But Senate Republicans (and President Bush) don’t like the way the bill finds money for docs by cutting subsidies to Medicare Advantage, the privately administered Medicare plans. A procedural vote yesterday was 58-38 in favor of the legislation — but 60 votes were required for the bill to move ahead.

John McCain didn’t vote on the bill; Obama voted in favor. Here’s a list of how everyone voted. The WSJ notes that several of the nine Republicans who voted for the bill are facing tough re-election races.