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.

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