FW: Pool report #4 -- Obama signs Medicare "doc fix" bill into law

From: Jen Bendery [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2015 5:08 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.; Velz, Peter
Subject: Pool report #4 -- Obama signs Medicare "doc fix" bill into law

Obama just signed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Pool was brought out to the Rose Garden just after 4:30, where Obama was sitting a table, without his suit jacket, with a row of pens and a copy of the bill. He said he decided it was so nice outside, he might as well sign the law out in the sun.

He called the bill "a significant bipartisan achievement" and congratulated House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for getting it done.

His remarks:

"For the last 13 years, we have been confronted with what's called 'a doc fix.' Basically the way the law was written, to deal with Medicaid payments to doctors, there was always the danger each year that suddenly, arbitrarily, doctors' payments would to get cut off, and that was going to be a significant danger to Medicare patients. Obviously it's the doctors who would have had a lot of trouble continuing to provide services. Not only does this legislation permanently fix payments to doctors, but it also improves it. Because what it starts doing is encouraging payments based on quality and not the number of tests that are provided or the number of procedures that are applied, but whether or not people actually start feeling better. It encourages us to continue to make the health care system smarter, without denying service. As a consequence, it's going to be good for people who use Medicare, it's going to be good for our seniors. Ultimately it's going to be good for all of us. Because what we've seen over the last 3-4 years, the costs of health care has slowed to the lowest levels in 50 years. part of thats because we're starting to do health care smarter.

"This is going to build on that progress that we've already made. It also expands the Children's Health Insurance Program that provides health insurance for young people all across the country. And when our kids are healthy, then we're going to have healthy adults and ultimately it's going to put less strain on the system as well. This was a bipartisan effort, Republicans and Democrats coming together to do something that's smart and common sense and my hope is it becomes a habit. But I want to congratulate all the folks involved.

"Because we wanted to make sure doctors payments didn't get cut off, I'm signing it now rather than wait for getting members of Congress down here. Hopefully sometime next week or the week after we'll deal with that reception where I can acknowledge the great work they did while they're enjoying White House hospitality. With that, I'll start signing."

A few moments later, he said, "There you go. Good stuff."

Pool was ushered out.

Background from a White House Official:

The President will, at a point in the near future, thank the overwhelming majority in Congress from both sides of the aisle and partners who supported this legislation to improve the affordability and quality of health care for the youngest and oldest in the nation.

Also -- we have a travel photo lid.

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