Medicare hits pause button on cuts in doctors' pay

June 14, 2010

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WASHINGTON—Medicare officials are hitting the pause button on a hefty cut in doctor's pay required by law unless Congress acts.

President Barack Obama urged lawmakers over the weekend to move quickly to stave off the 21 percent cut, required by a 1990s deficit reduction law Congress has routinely waived in the past.

Medicare said Monday it will hold claims through Thursday, giving lawmakers four more days to act. The House has already approved a fix, which is pending in the Senate. The cut was technically required as of June 1, but Medicare has been holding claims in hopes lawmakers will resolve the issue.

Doctors are not getting paid for services they provided as of June 1, but when they do, they'll get the full amount.