Obama Signs Temporary Medicare Fix Bill for Docs

WASHINGTON (AP) -

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill giving doctors temporary relief from a flawed Medicare payment formula that threatened them with a 24 percent cut in their fees.

The Senate passed the measure Monday, sending it to the president’s desk. The House passed the $21 billion bill last week.

The bill staves off the Medicare reimbursement cuts for doctors for a year and extends dozens of other expiring health- care provisions, such as higher payment rates for rural hospitals. The legislation is paid for by cuts to health-care providers, but half of those cuts won’t kick in for 10 years.

It’s the 17th temporary “patch” to a broken payment formula that dates to 1997. It comes after lawmakers failed to reach a deal on a permanent fix.