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Dave Camp, House Ways and Means Chairman

Ways and Means chairman sets sights on SGR, entitlements

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: February 27, 2013 - 11:15 am ET

Outlining the work of his committee for the 113th Congress, the chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee said his panel will make efforts to overhaul the nation's entitlement programs and repeal Medicare's troublesome physician payment formula.

Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said his panel would begin the work of entitlement reform by examining budget proposals in the past few years—such as the one from the president's fiscal commission led by Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.)—that include entitlement-reform recommendations.

“I think we want to go back and start at the beginning and look where we can find common ground,” Camp said during a briefing with reporters in the Capitol. “The goal there is how do we strengthen that safety net—how do we make those programs viable for the long term, and that's going to be one of the priorities we have.”

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When asked if this means whether he will take a different approach to reforming Medicare than the premium-support model his party has supported, Camp replied that premium support will among the options his committee will consider as it reviews earlier proposals.

Meanwhile, Camp said his committee has started on a draft bill to permanently repeal Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula used to pay physicians. Earlier this month, Camp and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) released a framework that mapped out three phases to change the way Medicare pays physicians who participate in the program. Upton has said publicly that he hopes to bring legislation to the House floor by this August.

“I'm not disputing that timeline; I'm just not ready to commit to a timeline,” Camp told Modern Healthcare after the briefing. “Clearly it's a priority for him and for me,” he said, adding that the committees have received some good comments on their proposal.

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