Senate Votes to Extend Pause on Sequester Cuts

The compromise legislation extends the moratorium until the end of the year. It now moves to the House for passage and then President Biden's office to be signed into law.

The Senate has voted to pass legislation that would extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts, which were slated to expire on March 31. This follows similar legislation that was upvoted in the House.

The newly passed Senate Bill, S.748 extends the pause on the sequester cuts until the end of the year. The legislation was introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

The Senate bill is a compromise version of H.R. 1868, which the House approved late last week. The House legislation would extend the moratorium until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and would also waive the 2010 Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) cuts for the fiscal year 2022. The PAYGO cuts could be significantly deeper if they were applied to offset deficit increases due to the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Because the bills differ, the Senate bill now goes to the House, which will consider it when it returns from recess in April. If passed in the lower chamber, it will then go to President Biden’s office to be signed into law.

The 2 percent sequestration cut has been in effect since the 2012 Sequestration Transparency Act as part of a deal to get out from under the debt ceiling at the time. The CARES Act put a temporary pause on those cuts to help DMEPOS suppliers and other Medicare providers and suppliers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, as mentioned, the suspension is due to lapse at the end of the month.

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