Congressional leaders have been seeking support for a jobs bill with a number of Medicare and other health policy provisions, but to date have been unable to muster the necessary votes for passage before the Congressional Memorial Day break due to concerns about the cost of the package. Among other things, H.R. 4213, “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010,” would avert a more than 21% cut in Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) payments scheduled to take effect June 1, 2010 under the statutory sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Instead, Congressional leaders are proposing to increase MPFS rates by 2.2% for the rest of 2010 and by 1% in 2011, but would provide no relief from the SGR formula for 2012 or thereafter. The legislation also would, among other things: extend for 6 months a temporary increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate; expand eligibility for the 340B drug discount program; repeal the delay in the use of the Resource Utilization Groups (RUG IV) for purposes of the Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) prospective payment system (PPS); tighten restrictions on inpatient hospital billing under the “3-day payment window”; establish a CMS-IRS data match to identify fraudulent providers; and extend premium assistance for COBRA benefits.  Note that the legislative situation is very fluid, and leaders may revise the package further, including possibly holding a separate vote on the MPFS fix provision. Given the uncertainties of the Congressional outlook, CMS has ordered contractors to hold MPFS claims for the first 10 business days of June (CMS expects the hold to have minimum impact on provider cash flow since clean electronic claims are not paid before 14 calendar days after receipt).