October 24, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Payor Issues and Reimbursement Public Payors
The California Medical Association (CMA) is part of a national multi-state, multi-specialty effort headed by the American Medical Association to keep bipartisan momentum going to address Medicare fee-for-service sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform. CMA has asked the California congressional delegation to sign a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to make it a priority to reform the Medicare physician payment system before the end of the year. The joint letter is being circulated in Congress by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY).
With the current full cost of repeal cut in half to $138 billion, repealing the SGR formula is a fiscally responsible step toward overall reform, the letter says. Congress, over the past decade, has spent $146 billion in short term SGR patches, more than the current cost of repeal. Continuing to enact short-term patches is bad fiscal policy — equivalent to paying the monthly minimum on a credit card bill — and increases the cost of full repeal.
In July, the House Energy Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2810 with a unanimous bipartisan vote. It would repeal the SGR, establish a five-year period of stability and enact alternative payment models for physicians. CMA is urging Congress to keep the momentum going and enact final payment reform before the end of the year.
With the drastically lower price tag for a repeal of the SGR and bipartisan support for the necessary policy changes, this year represents a great opportunity to implement a new payment system, reform health care delivery to drive quality and efficiency, and set Medicare on a more stable and predictable course for current and future generations of patients and physicians.
Contact: Elizabeth McNeil, (415) 882-3376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.