Healthcare Business News

Democrats call for extending SGR fix by Dec. 16

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: November 22, 2011 - 7:00 pm ET

The Democratic Party leadership in the House of Representatives is calling for an extension of the sustainable growth-rate Medicare payment formula “fix” in order to delay a scheduled 27.4% slash in provider reimbursement that will take effect in January unless Congress acts.

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In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn of South Carolina called on Republicans to ensure three pieces of legislation get passed before Dec. 16: extension of the SGR fix, extension of unemployment insurance, and extension and expansion of the “payroll tax holiday.”

“We're willing to offer our cooperation with the Republicans to get this thing done,” said Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami.

Elshami called extension of the SGR fix “essential” to ensure that seniors can maintain access to their physicians, but he added that the length of any extension was unspecified at this time.

“As you also know, Democrats are committed to working with you to identify appropriate savings over the long-term, once economic recovery has taken hold, to offset costs for extensions of the SGR and payroll tax holiday,” the Democratic leaders said in the letter to Boehner.

Last December, President Barack Obama signed legislation that froze the SGR for 12 months . Over the previous 12 months, Congress had passed six separate short-term SGR “patches.”

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