Congress averts deep cuts to Medicare

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Physicians groups uniformly blamed Congress for the failure to pass a long-term fix and did not single out the House or Senate. The short-term fix means negotiations on Medicare payments have to start all over again in February.

"Eleventh-hour legislation that fails to meet the needs of constituents is no way to conduct the nation’s business. That is particularly true when millions of Americans' health and welfare are at stake," American Academy of Family Physicians President Glen Stream said in a statement. 

"But last-minute, inadequate legislation is exactly what Congress has done with passage of an absurdly short reprieve from the 27.4 percent cut in physician payment mandated by the deeply flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula for Medicare."