House votes to protect payments to doctors

Friday, November 20, 2009

The House voted Thursday to add more than $200 billion to the deficit to prevent steep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, a move Republicans denounced as a political payoff.

The measure, approved on a near-party-line vote of 243 to 183, is a top priority for the American Medical Association. The GOP contended that Democrats supported the bill to thank the doctors group for backing President Obama's health-care overhaul, a charge Democrats rejected.

Doctors are facing a 21 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates in January unless Congress acts, the result of a flawed funding formula that lawmakers have blocked nearly annually in recent years.

The payment legislation failed in the Senate last month, leaving its future uncertain.

-- Associated Press

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