Health and Human Services: 21 percent cut in doctors' Medicare payments to start on April 15

Congress will get a little extra time to prevent a threatened 21 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

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Technically, the cut was to take effect Wednesday.

But the Department of Health and Human Services said it will hold off processing claims at the lower rate until April 15.

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to repeal the 1990s budget formula that requires the Medicare cuts. But the Senate left on its spring break before taking action. President Barack Obama says he would sign the House bill.

The Senate goes back into session on April 13, giving it just two days to act.

If Medicare is forced to pay doctors at the lower rate, it would cover the difference later, assuming Congress acts.

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But that could raise administrative costs.