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Judge's ruling delays trial plan to cut Medicare lab costs

AP/San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 2008

A pilot program aimed at reducing the cost of Medicare lab tests has been put in limbo after a federal judge found it could threaten quality of care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had been scheduled to announce winners of a bidding contest to provide 303 tests to Medicare patients in San Diego County. The judge blocked the pilot program after finding that the program would cause harm to patients of two healthcare systems that said they would be forced to lay off workers and reduce medical services if they lose their guaranteed fee income from lab services billed to Medicare.