SGR (Sustainable Growth Rate)
As you may know, we are closer than ever to real SGR repeal and reform. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2810, the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, a bipartisan effort which repeals the sustainable growth rate (SGR) system and replaces it with a new system of payments. Instead of looming annual cuts, physicians would be rewarded for the quality of care they provide to Medicare beneficiaries. The bipartisan bill also provides additional avenues for development of new payment and care delivery models. H.R. 2810 was approved by the health subcommittee on July 23, 2013 and passed the full committee by a 51-0 vote on Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
Since then, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee recently released a discussion draft proposal that would also permanently repeal the Medicare SGR formula and replace it with payment reforms that reward quality through alternative payment models. Because these committees have final jurisdiction over any reform legislation, we are very encouraged by their proactive effort. The American Medical Association (AMA) submitted its comments on the discussion draft.
More progress has been made toward a permanent repeal of the SGR this year than has been made over the last decade. And, because health care costs in general, and Medicare costs in particular, have been growing slower than expected, the Congressional Budget Office said that eliminating the SGR formula and its scheduled cuts would cost only about half as much over 10 years as it predicted last year.
In his luncheon address to AMPAC’s Capitol Club members at the AMA Interim Meeting in November, House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee chair Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) reiterated many important points that were aligned with the perspectives voiced by physicians across the country. House members sent a support letter to House leadership, with 259 signatures. Let’s keep the momentum going!
MSNJ is working in concert with many other state and specialty societies, as well as the AMA. On behalf of New Jersey physicians, MSNJ members and staff have met repeatedly with many of our Representatives and with Senator Menendez, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and its Subcommittee on Health Care. Please join us in our fight. Please use the template letter on this site to contact your representatives today!