Congress to pass bill to stop cut to Medicare docs

WASHINGTON — Congress is poised to give doctors who treat Medicare patients an eleventh hour reprieve from a cut in their government fees.

A planned Senate vote Monday would send legislation to repair Medicare’s flawed payment formula for a year to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The $21 billion measure would stave off a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and extend dozens of other expiring health care provisions such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health care providers, but fully half of the cuts won’t kick in for 10 years.

It’s the seventeenth temporary “patch” to a broken payment formula that dates to 1997 and comes after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on a permanent fix.

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