Among the must-do issues on Congress’ end of year list is the “doc fix” – billions of dollars needed to avert drastic rate cuts for physicians who treat Medicare’s 48 million beneficiaries. Should lawmakers fail to reach agreement before returning home for the holidays, a half million doctors will face a 27 percent cut beginning Jan. 1. Although Democratic and Republican leaders have pledged to stop that from happening, they disagree over how to offset the costs of a fix. The American Medical Association has recommended a five-year transition fee scale that allows time to test new payment approaches, including several being tested as part of the 2010 health care law.
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