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Think twice before opting out of Medicare

Despite a last-ditch reprieve by the U.S. Senate in July that halted a 10.6% cut in Medicare payments to physicians through 2009, many practices are fed up with the payments from CMS. Even with perennial eleventh-hour rescues by the U.S. Congress, Medicare payments to physicians have been declining in real dollars for more than a decade.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which became law after both houses of Congress overrode a presidential veto, increases physician payments by a scant 0.5% through the end of this year, followed by a 1.1% boost in payments in 2009.

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