Late last night, the Senate passed H.R. 2, the “Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act,” (MACRA), by a vote of 92-8. This bill is the same bill that was passed by the House on March 26 by a vote of 392-37.The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. President Obama has previously indicated he would sign the bill.
Medicare payments will remain at the rate that was effective prior to the April 1 deadline until July 1, 2015 at which time the fee schedule conversion factor will be increased by 0.5%.
Among the bill’s significant provisions:
- Replaces the SGR with an increase of 0.5% in Medicare physician reimbursement starting in July 2015 through December 2015, and then annual 0.5% increases lasting through 2019
- Consolidates reporting programs, such as the Meaningful Use program for electronic health records and several quality reporting programs, into a new, merit-based incentive payment system, and
- Incentivizes physicians to participate in alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations (ACOs).
We will provide additional details on this historic bill once we have carefully reviewed it.