Obama signs overhaul of how Medicare pays doctors
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has signed legislation permanently changing how Medicare pays doctors, a rare bipartisan achievement by Democrats and Republicans.
The bill overhauls a 1997 law that aimed to slow Medicare's growth by limiting reimbursements to doctors. Instead, doctors threatened to leave the Medicare program, and that forced Congress repeatedly to block those reductions.
Obama signed the legislation Thursday in a Rose Garden ceremony. The Senate passed the bill two days ago; the House approved it in March.
The bill blocked a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments that was due to take effect this month. It also revamps how physicians will be paid in the future.
The new law provides financial incentives for physicians to bill Medicare patients for their overall care, not individual office visits.