As written, the reform package that emerged last week from the pivotal Senate Finance Committee contains a one-year measure, where a scheduled 21% cut would be replaced with a 0.5% increase.
Senators debated several proposed ways to deal with the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which nearly every policymaker considers flawed. But Republican amendments to fix the formula were shot down, primarily over funding issues.
The 2010 fix in the Finance Committee bill costs $10.9 billion, but leaves doctors on the hook for about a 25% pay cut in 2011. Conrad said that the original plan called for a two-year fix, presumably with slight increases along the way. Other lawmakers hinted that amendments still expected to come might deal with the pay formula.
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