Congress Working on Legislation to Provide Permanent Medicare Physician Payment Solution

Members in the House of Representatives are developing legislative proposals to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula used to calculate annual Medicare payment adjustments to physicians. In January the Congress averted a 27.5 percent cut to Medicare physician payment by delaying the deadline for the cuts until December 31, 2013 and pledging to use this year to work out a permanent solution.

Republican leaders on the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees have already drafted a three stage proposal repealing the SGR formula and calling for a period of stable payments for physician services starting January 1, 2014. During the second stage, doctors would be paid a base rate, and another portion of their payment would vary according to the quality of the care they deliver. Phase three would include the base rate and adjustments for the quality and efficiency of treatment. The duration of each phase has yet to be determined. The Republican Committee leaders behind the proposal include Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Representative Joe Pitts Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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Source: American Society of Hemotology