Price tag to repeal SGR drops by $23 billion

December 10, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Licensing & Regulatory Issues Payor Issues and Reimbursement Public Payors 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has lowered the price tag for repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) by nearly $23 billion.

The 10-year cost estimate of eliminating the SGR is now $116.5 billion, the CBO said on Friday, down from $139 billion in February. The price tag just one year ago was $271 billion.

This lower estimate should encourage lawmakers to finally repeal the SGR. Three committees from the House and Senate are currently reconciling an SGR fix and the California Medical Association is working on the federal level with lawmakers to see that California physicians are represented in this effort.

The lower cost estimate is a reflection of the slowdown of Medicare spending on physician services, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

""The new estimate serves once again to demonstrate the timeliness of congressional action to reform the Medicare physician payment system once and for all,"" said AMA President Ardis Hoven, M.D.

On Dec. 12, the Senate Finance Committee is expected to markup legislation to repeal the SGR. The House Ways and Means Committee, which is working with Finance on SGR legislation, may consider a bill this week as well.

The CBO also reduced the cost of the Medicare physician pay fix legislation (H.R. 2810) approved in July by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by about $22 billion, to $153 billion.


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