By a vote of 64-35, the Democratic-led Senate sent
the measure, approved last week by the Republican-led House of
Representatives, to President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The bill would give doctors a one-year reprieve from a 24 percent
cut set to kick in this week under the Medicare payment formula,
known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR.
It marked the 17th time Congress had agreed to a temporary "doc fix"
rather than agreeing to a permanent bipartisan replacement of the
1997 funding formula.
The payments affect doctors treating patients under Medicare, which
pays for healthcare for nearly 51 million people in the United
States who are 65 and older or disabled.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers approved the "doc fix," knowing
that failure to do so would risk prompting doctors to drop out of
the program, leaving patients without care.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro and Susan Cornwell;
editing by Peter
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