(AP) — Medicare has set up a damage control plan to deal with steep cuts to doctors that a gridlocked Congress may be unable to head off by January 1. Officials are telling doctors and other clinical providers that Medicare will hold claims for services during the first two weeks of 2012 to avoid passing on a 27 percent cut in payments, which would be required unless Congress acts.
Compromise tax legislation the Senate passed last week would have prevented the cut, allowing two more months for lawmakers to negotiate, but House Republicans are rejecting that deal. The Obama administration says Congress is putting healthcare for Medicare beneficiaries and military retirees at risk. Medicare, in an e-mail alert to doctors, said the claims hold should have "minimal impact" on cash flow.