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Medicare put on the brink, yet again

CNN Money / Fortune, March 21, 2014
When Congress returns to session on Monday it will find itself in a familiar position: with its back against the wall. This time, Congress will be racing against a clock that's ticking off the seconds until the payments that doctors receive in exchange for treating Medicare patients are cut significantly. If it fails to pass legislation to stave off the reduction by March 31, the 685,000 doctors that participate in Medicare will see their reimbursements slashed by 24% starting April 1. The cut is based on what's known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR) -- a formula that was instituted as part of a 1997 deficit reduction law designed to limit federal health care spending by tying physician pay to an economic growth target