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Deal delays big cut to doctors’ Medicare

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers of both parties have struck a deal to postpone a massive cut in Medicare pay for doctors, two senators said Thursday.

The agreement between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and the panel’s top Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, calls for paying doctors at current levels through Dec. 31, and fully offsetting the cost.

The deal, expected to be approved by the House and Senate, would stave off a 23 percent cut in doctors’ pay scheduled to take effect Dec. 1. Baucus and Grassley also pledged to work together toward a mutually acceptable 12-month postponement that could pass before the end of this year.

Doctors were threatening to stop taking new Medicare patients if the cut went through.

The cost of the latest one-month postponement, $1 billion over 10 years, will be paid for by changes in Medicare reimbursement for outpatient therapy services.


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