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Congress passes bill to stop cut to Medicare doctors

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WASHINGTON — With just hours to spare, Congress stepped Monday to finalize legislation to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from being hit with a 24 percent cut in their payments from the government.

The Senate’s 64-to-35 vote sends a measure to delay the cuts for a year to President Obama, who’s expected to quickly sign it. The House passed the measure last week.

The $21 billion measure would stave off a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors for a year and extend dozens of other expiring health care provisions such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health care providers, but fully half of the cuts won’t kick in for 10 years.

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