House Clears Bipartisan Medicare Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Thursday in a 397-37 vote to fix a longstanding problem with how Medicare pays doctors. The bill, sponsored by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, would change a Medicare formula to pay doctors based on quality of care instead of linking it to economic growth. The bill also requires means-testing of Medicare beneficiaries, which means people with higher incomes would pay higher premiums. Doctors are facing a 21 percent pay cut beginning April 1 under the existing payment formula. The bill will head to the Senate, which may not act on it until it returns from a two-week recess that begins this weekend. Obama praised the House effort and said he would sign the measure.