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A huge pay cut for doctors is hiding in the fiscal cliff

By NPR  
   November 30, 2012

It was a pretty routine visit. But what happens next for Dr. Bob Murrow, getting paid by Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for the elderly, is suddenly sort of a big deal. Included in the fiscal cliff is a 30 percent pay cut to doctors who treat Medicare patients. It's set to kick in on Jan. 1. Lawmakers from both parties say they want to prevent the cut. But the cut is part of a plan Congress put in place 15 years ago to contain healthcare costs, then proceeded to postpone again and again. After he sees the patient, Dr. Murrow writes what he did on a form and then sends it to his billing guy, who turns the form into codes. The codes are what the doctor needs to get paid by Medicare.

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