House leaders work toward bipartisan $200B deal on Medicare doctor payments

Lifestyle and Budget Associated Press

Lobbyists say top House Republicans and Democrats are working toward a $200 billion agreement revamping how doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients.

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The potential deal would end a formula that for years has prompted lawmakers to block unrealistically deep cuts in doctors' Medicare reimbursements. It is expected to also include money for a children's health program whose budget will soon run dry.

Around $140 billion of the costs would be financed by adding to the federal deficit. That has drawn opposition from some conservatives, though others say the changes are needed.

The rest would come from savings including increased costs to some high-income Medicare recipients and cuts in reimbursements to some Medicare providers.

Those involved say the package could still change as party leaders try lining up votes.