And the Vote is in…..
The Senate voted last night (April 14th, 2015) on the amendment to repeal the Therapy Cap—after almost 20 years of existance and repeat discussion and debate!
60 votes in favor of the amendment were needed….we were so close… at 58. The amendment did not pass.
58 Senators voted in favor and 42 voted against the amendment.
Want to read the transcript or see how YOUR Senator voted? Read below.
The good news is that H.R.2 passed and the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut to Medicare was repealed, which continues the Therapy Cap exceptions process for 2 more years, through December 31, 2017. For more background information about the SGR or Therapy Cap, check out our last Blog HERE.
Senate Transcripts and Vote Record
Amendment No. 1119 (Purpose: To repeal the therapy cap and provide for medical review of outpatient therapy services) Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 1119. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report. The legislative clerk read as follows: The Senator from Maryland [Mr. Cardin], for himself, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Reid, Mr. Whitehouse, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Casey, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Menendez, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Brown, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Reed, Mr. Leahy, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Booker, Ms. Warren, and Ms. Klobuchar, proposes an amendment numbered 1119. Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The amendment is printed in today’s Record under “Text of Amendments.”) Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I have explained this amendment a little earlier. I ask unanimous consent that Senator Klobuchar be added as a cosponsor of the amendment. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. CARDIN. This deals with the therapy cap on which we now have had 12 patches. It is almost the identical problem we have with the SGR, which is the underlying bill. It deals with seniors, Medicare beneficiaries, having access to therapy services, those who have had strokes, those who have serious issues and need rehab therapy. The cap never made sense in 1997 when it was put into effect. It was not the right policy. We have had bipartisan support to correct this as we have the SGR, and my underlying amendment does that. I ask my colleagues to support the amendment. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah. Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, this bill is far from perfect, but we cannot let perfect be the enemy of the good on this bipartisan compromise that passed the House with almost 400 votes. The House leadership has made it clear to us, they will not pass another package, and I don’t blame them. Time is of the essence. The therapy caps provision may not be the best policy, but it is in place to ensure there is a governor on unnecessary utilization and spending in the Medicare Program. Congress should use the next 2 years to find a solution to this problem and work to pay for that solution, and I intend to do that. But to have that on this bill would be a catastrophe at the end of what has been a really, really very, very tough-fought bill all the way through. The pending amendment, No. 1119, offered by Senator Cardin would violate the Senate pay-go rule and increase the on-budget deficit over the 10-year period of fiscal years 2015 to 2024. Therefore, I raise a point of order against this measure pursuant to section 201(a) of S. Con. Res. 21, the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2008. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland. Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, pursuant to section 904 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and the waiver provisions of applicable budget resolutions, I move to waive all applicable sections of that act and applicable budget resolutions for purposes of the pending amendment, and I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be a sufficient second. The question is on agreeing to the motion. The clerk will call the roll. The bill clerk called the roll.
The yeas and nays resulted–yeas 58, nays 42, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 142 Leg.]
YEAS–58 Ayotte Baldwin Bennet Blumenthal Booker Boxer Brown Burr Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Cassidy Collins Coons Donnelly Durbin Feinstein Franken Gillibrand Graham Heinrich Heitkamp Hirono Hoeven Kaine King Kirk Klobuchar Leahy Markey McCaskill Menendez Merkley Mikulski Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Nelson Paul Peters Portman Reed Reid Rounds Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Udall Vitter Warner Warren Whitehouse Wyden
NAYS–42 Alexander Barrasso Blunt Boozman Capito Coats Cochran Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Enzi Ernst Fischer Flake Gardner Grassley Hatch Heller Inhofe Isakson Johnson Lankford Lee Manchin McCain McConnell Perdue Risch Roberts Rubio Sasse Scott Sessions Shelby Sullivan Thune Tillis Toomey Wicker
The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 58, the nays are 42. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is rejected. The point of order is sustained, and the amendment falls.
So Now What?
Well, it appears to be “business as usual” for therapists providing services to Medicare Part B residents. The exceptions process will contine (Use of KX Modifier to indicate medical necessity beyond the initial cap threshold), as will manual medical reviews when the secondary threshold is reached.
The President still needs to sign the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorizaton Act of 2015 into law to make this all official…and there is every expectation that he will do this very soon.
Any questions, use our JustAsk! Question and Answer forum!
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