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SOCIAL SECURITY: Doctors to be spared from Medicare Payment Cuts under New Bill

June 24, 2010

Washington – The US Congress has passed a new bill that would temporarily spare doctors a 21 percent cut in Medicare payment for about six months until lawmakers find a more permanent solution.

The new measure, which was part of a larger bill that will also provide extended unemployment benefits for laid off workers, was sent to President Barack Obama for approval and funding.

Democrat lawmakers were able to pass the smaller bill as a temporary fix for Medicare after Republican senators blocked the larger bill following concerns that it would add to the budget deficit.

However, the bill would increase payments to providers by about 2.2 per cent and would costs about $6.5 billion.

With the additional Medicare funding, doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, and other provided can now receive full payment, instead of being paid at the lower rate.

Lawmakers expect to pass a more permanent solution by the end of November after the congressional elections.

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