Healthcare Business News
Sen. Jon Kyl

Short-term SGR fix could come soon, lawmaker says

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: February 14, 2012 - 9:30 am ET

A GOP senator serving on the conference committee responsible for finding a solution to Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula said an answer could come today—although it won't be a permanent one.

Talking to reporters after his remarks at the American Medical Association advocacy conference in Washington, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the short-term fix could be for 10 months, 12 months or 22 months, although he did not say which of those options is most likely.

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Conferees are meeting, but the decision is likely to come from Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). The reason this could happen today—or even in the next few days—is because lawmakers would like to resolve the issue before they leave Friday for the Presidents Day recess, Kyl said. Physicians face a 27.4% cut on March 1 if Congress doesn't act.

Meanwhile, Kyl said the sticking point continues to be the “offsets,” or how to pay for the fix. Senate Democrats are proposing that about 70% of the offsets come from providers and about 30% from beneficiaries, while Kyl said the GOP thinks a 50-50 split between the two is “fair.”

Kyl said there are “lots of different proposals.” For instance, in finding savings on the beneficiary side, that could mean capping benefits, increasing premiums, or means-testing for wealthier beneficiaries.

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