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Megan McArdle

Doc Fix May Hit a Wall: Doctors

The annual ritual of the Medicare "doc fix" appears to have been performed for the last time.
Just try to stop him.

Just try to stop him.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For years now, I’ve had the debatable pleasure of writing about the high-stakes tedium of the “doc fix.” This is an annual ritual, like Arbor Day, except that instead of planting a tree, Congress gathers together and solemnly agrees to delay the scheduled “mandatory cuts” in Medicare payments to doctors, in order to appease the all-powerful American Medical Association. These cuts have been delayed so many times that by now they would be running well into double-digit percentages if they ever took effect. And so, of course, everyone knew they never would.

But the ritual seems to have been performed for the last time: Congress has finally crafted a permanent doc fix, which passed the Senate in a stunning display of bipartisanship, 92-8.