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House Passes Bill to Halt Medicare Part B Premium Hike

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A bill to eliminate all premium increases next year for Medicare coverage of doctor visits was passed by the House Thursday in a 406-to-18 vote.

Supporters noted that older Americans aren't expected to get a cost-of-living increase from Social Security next year and therefore shouldn't have to pay higher Medicare Part B premiums, the Associated Press reported. In most cases, Medicare premiums are deducted from Social Security payments.

Most Medicare recipients are already exempt from Part B premium increases when there is no increase in Social Security payments. But the bill would prevent monthly premium increases of $8 to $23 for several million people.

The bill, which wouldn't affect scheduled premium increases for the Medicare prescription drug plan, now goes to the Senate, the AP reported.

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