Obama signs legislation delaying Medicare physician pay cut

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Private nursing homes had more deficiencies than public counterparts, report shows
Private nursing homes had more deficiencies than public counterparts, report shows

President Obama Thursday night signed a bill that postpones a scheduled 21.2% cut in Medicare physician pay and extends the COBRA unemployment insurance benefit until June 1. He made it law just hours after the legislation cleared both houses of Congress.

The House passed the bill 289-112 just two hours after the Senate approved it by a 59-38 vote. It was an uphill fight to pass the bill in the Senate. Republicans largely opposed the bill because of the cost. In tweaking the bill Wednesday, the Senate extended the Medicare payment delay and unemployment benefits programs through the month of May. It also doubled the cost of the legislation to roughly $18 billion. 

The physician pay cut took was set to take effect Thursday. Physician groups remain hopeful that lawmakers can find a more permanent fix to the Medicare physician pay dilemma. The physician pay schedule is also tied to the calculation of allowances for nursing home Medicare Part B therapy.