The question becomes: How much will Congress boost physicians' pay?

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With Congress out on the last half of its two-week spring break, eyes in the provider community will be looking to see what type of fix lawmakers might float regarding Medicare physician pay levels. Based on regulators' calls to hold off paying claims until at least April 10, it can be assumed that something other than the scheduled 21% cutback is in the offing.

The challenge is nobody knows how much the physicians will get, or where the funding will come from. Long-term care providers have lobbied long and hard to persuade politicians not to pay for any physicians increase at their expense.

A provision to delay the scheduled 21.2% pay cut expired last night at midnight. A second extension was ordered, however, giving lawmakers more time to figure out what to do with claims originating from April 1 onward.