Hopes for Permanent SGR Repeal Slipping

U.S. CapitolThis morning, by a vote of 238 to 182, the House of Representatives passed an amended version of a bill that would eliminate the flawed Medicare SGR physician payment formula.

It included a budgetary offset that would delay Affordable Care Act penalties for five years for individuals who do not purchase health insurance. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate, and would likely be vetoed by President Obama.

The AMA today expressed disappointment that Congress has not enacted Medicare physician payment reform that both chambers and the White House can accept. 

“Just last month, both parties worked in a bicameral process to develop good-faith consensus and were historically close to repealing the dysfunctional payment system and improving healthcare for America’s senior citizens. It would be a shame for lawmakers to have done all of that hard work only to have it overcome by partisan politics over budgetary issues,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. in a statement.

She said: “AMA will continue to work with Congressional leaders to get us to the finish line in enacting a solution based on a framework that both chambers and the President can accept. Continuing the cycle of kicking the can down the road through temporary patches in the months ahead simply wastes more taxpayer money to preserve a bad policy of Congress’ own making.”

The MMS is grateful to U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and U.S. Rep. John Tierney for their efforts to find more appropriate funding sources to pay for permanent SGR repeal. 

The Senate will vote in late March on its own versions of SGR repeal legislation. 

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