What happened on Thursday, April 16, was nearly two decades in the making. After 18 years and 17 short-term patches, President Obama signed a $214 billion Medicare reform package (HR 2) that addresses issues that have long plagued physicians and their patients. Dubbed the “doc fix,” the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) permanently ends yearly threats to cut Medicare payments to physicians, a practice that stems back to a 1997 law.
Explore this issue:June 2015
“We are very excited about it,” said James C. Denneny III, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), who has been lobbying, along with other members of the organization, to get the bill passed for 14 years. “It is very gratifying to have it finally come to fruition,” he added.
But Dr. Denneny was quick to note another aspect of the victory—its strong bipartisan support. The U.S. Senate passed the bill by a vote of 92-8, and the House approved it by a 392-37 vote. “The scope of this bill underscores what can be accomplished when lawmakers work in a bipartisan manner,” Dr. Denneny said. “To see the system work was very important to me.”