POLITICS

Obama Signs Bill Fixing Medicare Doctors' Pay

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 16: U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Medicare Access CHIP Reauthorization Act 2015 on April 16, 2
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 16: U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Medicare Access CHIP Reauthorization Act 2015 on April 16, 2015 in Washington, DC. H.R. 2, commonly known as 'Doc Fix', is a bipartisan bill to strengthen Medicare and fix its payment formula for doctors. CHIP refers to the Children's Health Insurance Program. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on Thursday that repairs the formula for reimbursing Medicare physicians after Congress, in rare bipartisan fashion, passed a fix earlier this week to prevent a 21 percent cut in doctors' pay.

Sitting outside in the White House Rose Garden in his shirt sleeves, Obama said he was signing the bill now rather than waiting for a formal ceremony so it could go into force right away.

"This was a bipartisan effort," Obama said, adding he hoped the practice of Republicans and Democrats working together would become a habit on Capitol Hill.

"Because we wanted to make sure doctors' payments didn't get cut off, I'm signing it now."

The measure replaces a 1990s formula that linked Medicare doctor pay to economic growth, with a new formula more focused on quality of care. It also requires means-testing of Medicare beneficiaries so higher income people pay higher premiums. (Reporting by Jeff Mason. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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