Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has just unveiled his substitute to the tax extenders bill, which includes a "fix" to Medicare physician payment rates that does not even last until the end of the year. The six-month "doc fix" prevents a 21.3 percent cut in physician payments due to kick in this month and provides a 2.2. percent pay bump for physicians through Nov. 30.
Reducing the "doc fix" from 19 months to six would cut the cost of the bill by $16.4 billion. Baucus said the provision was entirely offset.