Lost among the tax and spending debate, the fiscal cliff bill passed by the House and Senate this week also averted a significant pay cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, the Washington Post reports.
The so-called "doc fix" was included in the legislation that restored Clinton-era tax rates to individuals making more than $400,000 a year ($450,000), but prevented increases for everyone else, one of the major policy points that comprised the fiscal cliff.
The 26.5 percent pay cut is linked to the sustainable growth rate formula passed in 1997, which links Medicare payments to GDP growth, and has become a recurring problem for lawmakers during the economic downturn. The fiscal cliff bill postpones the reduction for another year, according to the Post, although groups like the American Medical Association have pushed for a permanent resolution.
The fix cost about $30 billion, according to the newspaper, and about half of that was paid for by reducing Medicare payments to hospitals.