Once again it’s time to attempt to push Congress to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Few legislative days remain before the current Medicare physician payment patch expires on March 31, 2015.  If Congress does not pass Medicare physician payment reform by its self-imposed deadline, we will be confronting an 18th payment patch.
Over the years, a lack of consensus was an obstacle to reform of this flawed approach; questions were raised about what kind of payment system should replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.  That problem was resolved last Congress, when a bipartisan, bicameral bill was developed and passed by the three committees with jurisdiction over Medicare.   The hard work done in the last Congress has not been lost; support for the underlying policies that would be established by these bills remains.  The only obstacle remaining for this new Congress to pass H.R. 4015/S. 2000 is reaching agreement on budget offset issues.
President Obama’s 2016 budget released this month, reiterate calls made in previous budgets to eliminate the SGR and calls for “reforming Medicare physician payments in a manner consistent with the reforms included in recent bipartisan, bicameral legislation.”
The AMA is asking members of Congress to urge the leadership to engage in a bipartisan, bicameral dialogue so that we can all put the SGR behind us and start down the road to real Medicare reform. Please consider contacting your US representative or senator. The AMA has provided talking points and FAQs to help guide the discussion.