Doc Groups: Shift Money to Scrap SGR

Using excess baseline projections for Overseas Contingency Operations amounts to "cleaning the books" and will allow the elimination of a "flawed budget gimmick," physician organizations stated in a letter signed by 110 state medical associations and specialty societies. The roster of signees includes 47 societies representing 46 states and the District of Columbia. (The Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah state medical societies did not sign.)

Unless Congress takes action, doctors will have their Medicare payment cut by 27.4% on March 1 under the current SGR formula. According to the letter, if the SGR had been repealed in 2005, the resulting cost would have been $48 billion, but now that cost is $290 billion "and growing rapidly."

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6ujf8dp

Source: Modern Healthcare

Last month, President Barack Obama signed a 2-month SGR "patch"to avert the pay cut that had been scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. House Republicans had sought a two-year patch. In the letter, the physician organizations noted that that would merely increase the cost of repealing the SGR to $346 billion and lead to a threatened 36% Medicare pay cut 2 years from now.

Physician organizations are asking Congress to use money that had been projected to be spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for a permanent alternative to the sustainable growth-rate formula used to calculate Medicare payments to doctors.