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WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have less than a month to pass legislation that would slow down or stop impending Medicare reimbursement cuts.

You may remember when Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8th) spoke on the issue a couple of months ago before a House committee hearing on the Supporting Health Care Providers During the Covid-19 Pandemic Act.

Bucshon, who is a medical doctor, spoke again in front of the Rules Committee on Tuesday to lambaste lawmakers for taking this long to move the bill forward, accusing Democrats of holding it hostage as part of an overall package to raise the debt ceiling.

“At a time when doctors are the heroes on the front lines taking care of our family and loved one during a once in a century pandemic, leaders in the majority think them pawns in a high stakes political game,” Bucshon said.

Bucshon said because the debt ceiling provision was added to the bill, he voted against moving it forward. The bill ended up passing a committee vote.

The bill at its core is meant to stave off cuts to reimbursement rates set to happen on Jan. 1, 2022, for doctors who treat patients who are covered by Medicare. When a patient is on medicare, the government foots the bill for their medical costs by having doctors treat them and then reimbursing doctors for said treatment.

“All of us have been hearing from doctors back home about the imminent cuts they’re facing if Congress didn’t act by Jan. 1, 2022,” said Bucshon. “They’ve told us how this will only make worse the already troubling physician shortage.”

The bill has yet to be taken up by the full House.