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President Obama on Thursday signed a $200 billion Medicare reform package, hailing it as a “significant bipartisan achievement.”

The so-called “doc fix” measure is one of the biggest achievements for the new Republican Congress. It permanently ends automatic Medicare payment cuts to doctors that lawmakers have been forced to address every year for almost two decades.

{mosads}In a rare outdoor signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, Obama congratulated Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who brokered the deal.

“Not only does this legislation permanently fix payments to doctors but it also improves it,” he told reporters. “It encourages us to continue to make the healthcare system smarter, without denying service.”

The bill was an uncommon example of bipartisan cooperation. The measure passed the House with an overwhelming majority and on Tuesday, it cleared the Senate with just eight “no” votes.

“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,” the president said.

Obama said he would congratulate lawmakers for passing the doc fix at a White House ceremony in the next two weeks. 

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