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Five years after Congress passed a law to reduce unnecessary MRIs, CT scans and other expensive diagnostic imaging tests that could harm patients and waste money, federal officials have yet to implement it.

The law requires that doctors consult clinical guidelines set by the medical industry before Medicare will pay for many common exams for enrollees. Health care providers who go way beyond clinical guidelines in ordering these scans (the 5% who order the most tests that are inappropriate) will, under the law, be required after that to get prior approval from Medicare for their diagnostic imaging.

But after physicians argued the provision would interfere with their practices, the

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