Medicare Patients At Risk Without Doctors’ Fiscal Cliff Fix

Source: Jennifer Liberto / CNN Money

WASHINGTON — As lawmakers head into talks to avoid the fiscal cliff, doctors are watching closely.

Thanks to bad timing, the Medicare fees that doctors are paid for treating seniors has gotten tangled up in the same high-stakes deal-making to avert the fiscal cliff — across the board tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in January.

If Congress does nothing, doctors will be reimbursed 27% less than current rates, starting Jan. 1. That could spur thousands of doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients.

It’s not a situation any politician wants to see. So, Congress will likely find a way to keep rates from going up in 2013, experts from both political parties say. The question is when and how.

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