27% Medicare Pay Cut Returns March 1 Without A New Deal

The threat of an across-the-board Medicare physician pay cut was defused with just over a week to spare, but the congressional agreement only maintains rates for an additional two months before Congress must act again to avoid a steep reduction.

The House and Senate approved a two-month payroll tax cut extension package that included a two-month doctor pay freeze allowing physicians to continue to receive 2011 rates for Medicare services they provide through the end of February.  But lawmakers, who have only a few weeks of scheduled legislative activity before the across-the-board SGR cut returns, will need to agree on a longer-term patch if they are to prevent the 27.4% cut from taking effect on March 1.

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