As reported this weekend, on December 16, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released his "manager’s amendment" to the pending Senate health reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). The amendment reflects a series of agreements negotiated with individual Senators in recent weeks, and its release sets the stage for a possible Senate vote on the underlying health reform measure by Christmas. The amendment cleared the first procedural hurdle early this morning, when a motion to cut off debate and proceed to a vote on the amendment was approved by the needed 60-40 margin.  In other important health policy news, the Senate has joined the House in approving a short-term delay in the looming 21.2% Medicare physician fee schedule payment cut caused by the application of the controversial sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula to the annual fee update.