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Obama hails US budget deal

Barack Obama has hailed a deal to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of stark tax hikes and spending cuts. The US House of Representatives backed the bill by 257 votes to 167.

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Medicare concerns holding up fiscal cliff deal

A congressional aide has told Reuters that Senate negotiators trying to finish a deal before the "fiscal cliff" deadline are caught on demands that new spending cuts be found to pay for a cost associated with fixing a Medicare issue.

The disagreement centres on $30 billion in spending cuts which are due to take effect from tomorrow which will impact pay to doctors treating Medicare patients. There are fears it could discourage doctors from treating elderly Medicare patients.

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