Despite efforts by Senator Harry Reid to pass legislation which would have effectively frozen Medicare payment rates for physicians, it looks like Congress will once again look to freeze physician payment rates with a one-year patch. According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, Senator Reid’s proposed bill would have permanently prevented Medicare payment cuts to doctors. However, the bill was estimated to cost $247 billion over ten years and Senator Reid was unable to secure the votes necessary to get the bill out of the Senate. The bad news for physicians is that there’s no permanent fix for the sustainable growth rate formula in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The good news however is that Senator Reid has indicated an intention to pass a measure which would forestall the projected 21% decease in physician payments expected for 2010.