Doctors are again facing steep Medicare cuts that could undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people, unless Congress acts by Jan. 1 to stave them off.
The cuts have become a recurring symbol of the government's budget woes.
This time it's a 27.4 percent cut. Last year, it was about 20 percent.
It's all a consequence of a 1990s budget law that failed to control spending but never got repealed. Congress passes a temporary fix each time, only to grow the size of reductions required next time around.
Last week's supercommittee breakdown leaves the problem unresolved with time running out. Congress is looking at options that include one-year and two-year fixes. But there's no consensus on how to pay for the billions of dollars that would cost.
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