September 10, 2007—Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has signed on as a cosponsor to the Access to Medicare Imaging Act of 2007 (S 1338). Clinton’s co-sponsorship is a show of support for a moratorium on the drastic cuts to medical imaging contained in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The cuts, which reduced reimbursement for particular imaging services by up to 50%, have been in effect since January 2007.

S 1338, introduced by Sen Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen Gordon Smith (R-Ore), has garnered the support of 28 senators. The House companion bill, HR 1293, introduced by Reps Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa), now has 156 cosponsors—over one-third of the House.

While strong support for a DRA moratorium is still mounting, a new threat has emerged in the form of more cuts to medical imaging reimbursement in the recently passed Children’s Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act in the House. CHAMP reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and staves off projected physician payment cuts in 2008 and 2009, but also contains a physician payment reform policy, as well as adjustments to the practice expense formula that will result in further cuts to imaging. The Senate’s SCHIP legislation contains no Medicare provisions, and the two bodies must reconcile their positions before moving forward.