Monday, July 14, 2008

Senate Passes Medicare Bill Renewing QI

On July 9, 2008 the US Senate passed H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, by the veto-proof margin of 69 in favor to 30 against. Only one Senator was not present to vote, Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The bill renewed the Qualified Individual (QI) program, which helps moderately low-income seniors pay Part B premiums, and which had sunsetted July 1, 2008. The bill also raised the resource limits for the other Medicare Savings Programs (ie. QMB and SLMB) which had never been increased before. The most immediate beneficiaries of the bill, however, are physicians who would have suffered a 10.6% cut in Medicare payment amounts had the bill not passed.

Both Senators Rockefeller and Byrd voted in favor of the bill.

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