Senate delays vote until next month on bipartisan bill halting Medicare doctors' fee cuts

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WASHINGTON — The Republican-run Senate has delayed giving final congressional approval to bipartisan legislation permanently blocking Medicare cuts for physicians until next month.

The GOP-led House approved the $214 billion bill Thursday, moving Congress close to resolving a problem that has long plagued it.

That 392-37 vote, plus President Barack Obama's endorsement of the legislation, intensified pressure on the Senate to finish the measure.

But as the Senate worked into Friday's pre-dawn hours on a separate budget-balancing plan, leaders decided to wait until after Congress' two-week spring recess to finish the legislation. Senators from both parties have complained about parts of the measure.

By law, doctors are to receive 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements April 1. The government can delay processing the payments until lawmakers return.

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