A package of trade bills that would have imposed additional sequestration cuts on Medicare was blocked today in the Senate, where it failed to gain the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle. The legislation included language that would extend the sequester on Medicare to the last six months of 2024 to pay for the cost of extending the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, increasing the amount cut by the sequester by $700 million, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. AHA, the American Medical Association, the American Health Care Association, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice had voiced opposition to the inclusion of the cuts and urged lawmakers to drop the provision. “Hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and home health and hospice providers have already absorbed hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to the Medicare program in recent years," they noted. “Additionally alarming is the use of Medicare cuts to pay for non-Medicare related legislation, a precedent that we believe is unwise.” The White House said the trade package remains a top priority and it will continue to work with Congress to pass legislation.