A peculiarly united Congress on Tuesday gave its approval to a bill that would repair the formula applied for reimbursing Medicare physicians.
The landmark approval marks a unique bipartisan achievement only in time to head off a 21 percent reduction in the pay of the physicians.
The Senate gave a go ahead to the so-called “doc fix” with 92-8 vote. The House of Representatives had acted over the bill more than two weeks ago. The bill will now be sent to US President Barack Obama who is expected to sign it into law.
The rare bill was drafted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in March. The measure seems to be the first major legislative achievement of the 2015-2016 Congress, indicating a way forward easing years-long gridlock on Capitol Hill.
Obama hailed lawmakers for passing the crucial bill, saying it would be strengthening the healthcare system in the United States.
“I will be proud to sign it into law,” Obama said in a statement.
The bill would be replacing a 1990s formula that linked the doctors under Medicare program pay to economic growth, with a new formula which is more focused on quality of care provided to the patients. It also would need means-testing of beneficiaries of Medicare so higher income people pay higher premiums.
The health insurance program Medicare is one of the largest social safety net programs of the government that serves 54 million disabled and elderly people.