Medicare doctors bill not law yet, but government already paying full fees to most physicians

A bill preventing deep cuts in doctors' Medicare reimbursements hasn't been signed into law. But the government is already paying most doctors their full fees anyway.

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Congress approved the bill Tuesday night, but the paperwork wasn't immediately sent to the president for his signature. The measure blocks a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments that took effect this month.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had previously said that without action, it would start making payments at the lower rates on Wednesday. It processes about 4 million claims daily.

The agency now says it is already making most payments at the full rates. In a written statement to health care providers, it says "a small volume of claims" are being processed at the lower levels.