DC saw the rarest of things today: a substantial piece of legislation that passed the House with broad support in both parties. Called the "doc fix," it's designed to permanently solve a problem regarding the way doctors get paid by Medicare—instead of the annual short-term patches that have become routine over the years, reports Politico. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi negotiated the bill together, and today it sailed through the House on a vote of 392-37. It now moves on to the Senate, where Democrats are leery about provisions that restrict the use of federal money for abortions, but the New York Times reports that the measure is expected to pass there, too. President Obama is in favor.
"We've patched this problem 17 times over the last 11 years," Boehner said. "I had decided about a year ago that I had had enough of it." (He elaborates in an essay at the National Review.) The measure scraps the old Medicare payment formula and replaces it with one that, among other things, rewards doctors for the quality of care instead of the quantity. It also will require higher-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay bigger premiums, and it funds the Children's Health Insurance Program for two more years. (Democrats wanted four.) Without action, doctors would have faced a 21% cut in Medicare fees on April 1 under a formula called the Sustainable Growth Rate, reports the Hill. (Read more Congress stories.)