Yesterday (April 14, 2015), the U.S. Senate passed the permanent SGR repeal legislation that had been passed by the House before Congress took two weeks off for Easter recess. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation Wednesday, averting the need to cut Medicare physician payments by 21%.
Under a rule adopted earlier today in the Senate, six amendments were brought up during consideration of the bill -- three by Democrats and three by republicans. All six amendments were defeated (a 60-vote super-majority was required to pass an amendment). The defeat of all six amendments meant that the version adopted by the Senate was identical to the House version, so no conference is necessary.
The passage ended a long-running pattern of temporarily blocking scheduled fee cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients, replacing an oft-criticized payment formula in a strong bipartisan vote just hours before 21 percent reimbursement reductions were scheduled to take effect.