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House Passes Medicare Doc-Fix

Aiming to prevent a 21-percent reduction in Medicare doctor payments next year, the House today passed legislation scrapping the flawed formula that has dictated similar cuts for most of the decade.

The count was 243 to 183, with 11 Democrats voting against the measure, and just one Republican — Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texas physician — voting in favor of it.

The proposal has been the top legislative priority of the American Medical Association for years, and Democratic leaders are hoping today’s vote might entice the powerful doctors lobby to get behind the broader health reforms moving through Congress.

The $210 billion doc-fix bill, however, stands little chance in the Senate, where budget hawks on both sides of the aisle have been unwilling to support the measure unless it’s paid for. (The House bill is not.) Indeed, just last month the upper chamber killed a similar proposal because it was unfunded. The vote in that case was a lopsided 47 to 53 — well shy of the 60 supporters it needed to pass.

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