Obama signs 'fiscal cliff' legislation
Article Thumbnail ImageJanuary 3, 2013 -- President Barack Obama late Wednesday signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012, legislation that resolves the "fiscal cliff" impasse but also includes significant Medicare reimbursement cuts to radiology and radiation oncology services.

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On Wednesday evening, Obama directed that the legislation be signed with an "autopen," a robotic device that reproduces the president's signature, rather than have physical documents mailed to Hawaii, where he is vacationing.

In addition to solving the fiscal cliff impasse, ATRA implements a one-year fix to Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which would have imposed an automatic 27% cut in payments to doctors. However, the legislation pays for the fix with other reimbursement cuts over the next 10 years, such as $800 million in reductions to radiology and $300 million in cuts to radiation oncology.