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WASHINGTON — Hospitals and physicians lost a lobbying battle to stave off Medicare cuts of up to 10% in a must-pass government spending bill, though the defeat may not be final.

Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal on Thursday that would extend government funding at current levels through Feb. 18, with very few extra provisions added on. They chose not to stop cuts, some of which are set to take effect Dec. 31, that could reduce Medicare pay by 6% for hospitals and as much as 10% for physicians.


Congress could still choose to avert the cuts, but it would take a rare bipartisan effort to pass a standalone measure during a frenzied end-of-year legislative sprint. Lawmakers did something similar in March on one of these exact Medicare issues.

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