February 24, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Payor Issues and Reimbursement
A long-awaited and hard-fought bill to permanently repeal Medicare’s fatally flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula finally is before Congress. The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 1415/S. 2000), introduced in both chambers of Congress, offers a fiscally prudent opportunity for lawmakers to repeal the SGR formula and put Medicare on the path toward a stable, 21st-century program that can meet the growing health care needs of the nation’s seniors.
The bill provides a 0.5 percent automatic payment update every year for five years during the transition to new payment models through which physicians can earn bonuses of up to 9 percent. The new system will allow physicians to select from two payment tracks—a fee-for-service track and an alternative payment model track. Most important, the bill eliminates the flawed Medicare SGR once and for all.
Congress is closer than ever before to enacting legislation that would permanently repeal the SGR formula. Amplifying the physician voice on this issue now is critical. Congress must seize this opportunity and act before March 31, when the SGR calls for a 24 percent across-the-board cut in Medicare physician payments. Tell your members of Congress today that now is the time to repeal the SGR.
How to contact members of Congress: Call AMA’s Grassroots Hotline, (888) 434-6200, to be connected with your members of Congress. You will be asked to enter your zip code and select your representative. You may also email your federal legislators via the AMA's "Fix Medicare Now" grassroots website.
The key points to stress are:
- For at least 12 years, Congress has recognized the imperative of reforming the Medicare physician payment system. Now that a bipartisan, bicameral policy has been developed, it’s time to stop thinking about the problem and seize the opportunity to solve it.
- Congress must act as soon as possible and vote in support of permanently repealing the flawed Medicare SGR formula.
- Congress must avoid continuing the fiscally irresponsible cycle of short-term patches that contribute to the Medicare program’s instability and do nothing to solve the underlying problem.
For more information and resources, visit www.fixmedicarenow.org.
Contact: Elizabeth McNeil, (800) 786-4262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.