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Obama signs bill to delay Medicare doctor pay cuts

December 15, 2010

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WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation that delays for one year a cut in Medicare pay to doctors.

The 25 percent reduction in physician payments had been scheduled to kick in Jan. 1, potentially disrupting care for the nation's seniors.

Delaying the cut will cost the government an estimated $19 billion.

The money will be shifted from the health care overhaul law, mostly by tightening rules on tax credits intended to prevent waste.

The AARP applauded the president's action. But the seniors' lobby said Congress must provide a long-term solution that replaces the current payment formula.

The reductions are designed to keep Medicare spending in check. But Congress routinely has stepped in to waive them.