2014-03-13T212008Z_1_CBREA2C1N9Q00_RTROPTP_2_USA-HEALTHCARE-MISSISSIPPI

Partisanship engulfs U.S. Congress effort to avoid doctor pay cut

Applications are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act in Jackson, MississippiBy David Morgan and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan deal in Congress to spare doctors from recurring Medicare pay cuts was in jeopardy on Thursday, as Republicans ignored protests from physicians and moved forward with legislation that would use the so-called “doc fix” to undermine Obamacare. Hundreds of thousands of doctors who participate in traditional Medicare face a 24 percent pay cut on April 1, as part of a 1990s initiative to restrain federal spending on the government healthcare program, which today serves nearly 50 million elderly and disabled people. Doctors thought they would see a permanent fix this year after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate agreed on a policy to replace the payment formula, known as the sustainable growth rate or SGR, according to lobbyists, congressional aides and analysts.

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