The medical lobby and other major provider groups made a very public plea for the Senate to approve legislation that would permanently repeal Medicare's troubled physician payment formula.
In letters to Congress, television ads and in a webcast that proceeded to link news events in several states, the American Medical Association, AARP and Military Officers Association of America called on the Senate to take similar action to the House and pass legislation that repeals the current formula and replaces it with one that better reflects increasing medical practice costs.
Medicare's sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula is based on the economy's health and has threatened cuts to physician payments every year since 2003. Congress has stepped in each time to prevent those cuts from occurring. Physicians face a 21.2% cut at the end of February unless Congress intervenes again. The Senate next week is expected to vote on a debt-ceiling bill that could possibly contain a permanent fix to the SGR. Legislation to revamp the SGR cleared the House in a stand-alone bill last November.
“Time is running out,” said Nancy Nielsen, the AMA's immediate past president, at a news event in Washington. “The Senate must take immediate action to protect choice of physicians and access to care for Medicare and TRICARE patients. Congress must permanently repeal the formula that causes the cuts.”
What do you think?
Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.