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San Diego doctors dreading possible medicare rate cuts

Congress must decide soon on whether it will allow a five percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors to take effect in October. In the meantime, San Diego County doctors complain their Medicare rate is already too low. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

In 1997 the Medicare system cut down on the number of payment districts nationwide. As a result, San Diego was grouped with nine other so-called rural counties in California. The district includes Imperial and Humboldt counties.

Dr. Ted Mazer is president of the San Diego County Medical Society. He says for years, Medicare has paid doctors in all of these areas the same rate.

And in fact, even lower in San Diego than many rural counties, because many of those rural counties qualified for a ten percent increased reimbursement, because they were rural, as a way of attracting physicians there.

Mazer contends doctors in San Diego who see Medicare patients, are underpaid to the tune of about 25-million dollars a year. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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