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WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has once again given doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees.

A 64-35 Senate vote Monday cleared the measure for President Barack Obama's signature, which is expected as early as Tuesday.

The $21 billion bill would stave off a 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors for a year and extend dozens of other expiring health care provisions, such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health care providers, but fully half of the cuts won't kick in for 10 years.

It's the 17th temporary "patch" to a broken payment formula that dates to 1997.

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