The Senate earlier today voted 64 to 35 to pass legislation to raise the nation’s debt limit and set spending targets for the federal budget for the next two fiscal years. Site-neutral payments for new provider-based hospital outpatient departments are included in the legislation.
Senate passage of the bill came in the early hours of the morning and a day after the House cleared the measure. The bill goes to the White House for the president’s signature.
The Treasury Department estimates the deadline for raising the debt ceiling is Nov. 3.
The legislation would extend the debt ceiling to March 2017 and raise the discretionary spending caps imposed in 2011 under sequestration by $80 billion above current levels, split evenly between defense and non-defense spending.
It also would stave off an impending increase in Medicare Part B premiums for some seniors. The cost would be offset in part by implementing site-neutral payments for new provider-based hospital outpatient departments – those that come into being after the date of enactment of the bill. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, these departments would not be eligible for reimbursements under the outpatient prospective payment system, but would instead be eligible for reimbursements from either the ambulatory surgical center or physician payment systems. The bill also would extend the 2% Medicare sequester for an additional year.