AMA Throws Support Behind Bipartisan Bill To Repeal, Replace SGR
The American Medical Association on Tuesday announced its support for the new bipartisan, bicameral proposal to repeal and replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula, Modern Healthcare reports.
However, the physician group did not offer any suggestions on how to cover its estimated $126 billion price tag (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 2/11).
Background on SGR Deal
The SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act -- which was crafted by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees -- would repeal the SGR formula, which sets physician payment rates, and institute a 0.5% annual payment increase between 2014 and 2018. The increase would be maintained until 2018 to ensure payment stability and help doctors transition to new care models.
Since 2003, Congress has spent nearly $150 billion on short-term patches to stave off Medicare payment cuts scheduled under the SGR formula. The most recent short-term "doc fix" is set to expire March 31 (California Healthline, 2/7).
AMA's Endorsement of SGR Proposal
During a conference call with media, AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven said that "Congress can manage this" and that she "trust[s] the members of Congress to get this right."
Hoven also said that the new proposal's annual payment increases and use of doctor-developed quality standards were suggested by AMA.
The association does not support alternative legislation, which would enact a nine-month suspension of SGR-driven pay cuts, she noted.
AMA's endorsement of the SGR plan comes just days after two other leading physician organizations -- the American College of Physicians and the American College of Surgeons -- expressed their support for deal, Modern Healthcare reports (Modern Healthcare, 2/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.