Updated 6:18 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to send a yearlong patch for payments to doctors treating Medicare patients to President Barack Obama’s desk today, but it was not to be. A vote on the “doc fix” bill was postponed until Monday evening.
The Nevada Democrat’s comments on the floor backing the patch came not long after a surprise House voice vote to pass the measure, which represents a compromise between Reid and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
“I personally am not overjoyed about what’s in the bill, but I’m satisfied with what’s in the bill, and I would hope that we could expeditiously move and get this done today,” Reid said.
He praised the efforts of Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to develop a long-term solution for the ongoing Medicare payment rate debacle that’s led to the recurring “doc fix” patches. Wyden said he would keep his focus on that longer-term solution.
“The patches do not meet the needs of seniors and doctors and what our country deserves,” Wyden said. “The cost of these past patches really is about the same cost as repeal, so I intend to work very closely with Leader Reid and Republicans.
“The patch, guys, is Medicare make-believe. It’s a fake. You have this target which is always exceeded,” Wyden said. “There have been 16 of them.”
Reid’s office previously indicated that Wyden would be able to get a floor vote on the broader bill, but it became clear that the patch was the only way forward by March 31.