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Lawmakers Attempt to Repeal the SGR
Posted on: 12/13/2013
Although a healthy dose of skepticism abounds, legislative activity in Washington to repeal Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula appears to be advancing.    

Yesterday, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation to repeal the SGR formula and provide three years of scheduled 0.5 payment increases by a unanimous vote. The AMA voiced strong support for this measure; however some national specialty groups believe there is room for improvement to the Ways and Means proposal.

Shortly after this vote, the Senate Finance Committee approved a similar, but not identical, legislative remedy to repeal the SGR. It is unlikely that Congress will reconcile these House and Senate proposals before the end of the year.  

But hold on to your stethoscopes - the 24.7 percent Medicare payment cut will hit docs in less than three weeks.

The House of Representatives passed a three-month Medicare physician payment "band-aid" to avoid the Jan. 1, 2014, payment slash while Congress continues its efforts toward SGR repeal legislation. The Senate will consider a temporary patch next week. (Keep in mind that Medicare reimbursement will continue to be down 2 percent as a result of federal "sequestration.")

Based on past history, this paltry patch will most likely be extended beyond the three months. After all, Congress has patched the SGR formula 15 times in the past 10 years.

In the meantime, ISMS will keep you informed on any congressional action.

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