Congress agreed to delay a scheduled 27.4% cut in Medicare reimbursements only until the end of February, meaning the cut will be implemented March 1 if Congress does not act. Congress has been enacting short-term patches to the Medicare growth rate formula since 2003, and doctors expressed growing frustration with the cycle. "With this brief reprieve from the massive 27% cut to Medicare payments, Congress now has to enact a real and fiscally responsible solution to this sorry cycle of scheduled cuts and short-term patches that compromises access to care for patients and drives up costs for taxpayers," said American Medical Association President Dr. Peter Carmel.

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