House OKs bipartisan Medicare doc bill, fate up to Senate
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WASHINGTON — The House has voted in unusual bipartisan unity to approve a $214 billion measure permanently blocking cuts in physicians’ Medicare payments.
The 392-37 vote moved Congress a step closer to resolving a problem that has plagued lawmakers for years.
The package bore wins for both parties. Republicans won a long-term strengthening of Medicare’s finances with cost increases for some high-income recipients. Democrats claimed victories with added money for health programs for children and poor families.
The measure would replace a 1997 law that has repeatedly threatened cuts in physicians’ Medicare reimbursements. Doctors have warned that those threats could force them to stop treating the program’s elderly patients.
The bill’s Senate fate is unclear but improving. Democrats’ complaints about its abortion curbs and other provisions have been softening.
ALAN FRAM, Associated Press