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Senate Democrats hit snag with doctor payment bill

New York Times, October 21, 2009

Senate Democrats backed down from their effort to increase Medicare payments to doctors without offsetting any of the cost over the next 10 years. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said the bill would "fix" a flawed formula that threatens to cut Medicare payments to doctors by 21% in 2010 and by about 5% in each of the next few years. If such cuts occurred, he said, fewer doctors would accept Medicare patients. Republicans support the goal, but said they could not swallow the Medicare bill because it would cost $247 billion over 10 years and none of the cost would be offset or paid for, reports the New York Times.