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Senate keeps Medicare payment formula

Washington Post, October 22, 2009

Lawmakers agreed to block a permanent repeal of Medicare's payment formula for doctors. Although sympathetic to fixing the root problem, they concluded that the legislation's $247 billion 10-year price tag was too steep in an era of record deficits. Lawmakers routinely override the formula that sets Medicare payments to doctors, a move to prevent physicians from turning away Medicare patients because they are paid too little for the visits. While the vast majority in Congress agree that the formula is a failed model, producing the enormous sum needed to eliminate it has proven impossible, reports the Washington Post.