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Congress again faces 'doc fix' for Medicare

The Olympian/Associated Press, November 29, 2011

Politicians of both parties outdo each other vying for the approval of seniors, but their inability to compromise on the federal budget has put Medicare in the crosshairs again. Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors face a 27% cut in their fees for treating Medicare patients. That could undermine health care for millions of elderly and disabled beneficiaries. Last year around the holidays doctors were looking at a cut of about 20%. It’s become a recurring symbol of the government’s budget dysfunction. The cuts are the consequence of a 1990s budget law that failed to control spending but never got repealed. Congress passes a temporary fix each time, only to grow the size of reductions required next time around. The supercommittee’s breakdown leaves the so-called “doc fix” unresolved with time running out.