Senate passes one-month “doc fix”

The short-term delay to a pending 23 percent cut in Medicare physician payments passed unanimously. The House is expected to take it up after the Thanksgiving recess, right before the cuts take effect Dec. 1.

The patch is paid for by using $1 billion from a 20 percent cut in payments for outpatient therapy services. The bill removes from those payments the overall pool of money known as the Physician Fee Schedule, prompting speculation that doctors’ groups would oppose it, but that hasn’t happened so far.

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