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Congress-Medicare 06-26

Senate rejects cuts in Medicare doctor payments

Eds: APNewsNow. UPDATES with Senate rejecting Medicare bill.

By CHARLES BABINGTON

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — A scheduled cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients remains in place. That’s because the Senate has narrowly failed to approve a House bill that would have kept reimbursement rates steady.

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The 10.6 reduction, scheduled to take effect Tuesday, was triggered by Medicare spending levels that exceeded established targets.

The Senate fell one vote short of the 60 needed to pass the bill under expedited rules. All 50 Democrats present, plus nine Republicans, backed the bill. But most Republicans opposed it, noting that the Bush administration has hinted at a possible veto.

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