Med Students Urge Congress to Find SGR Fix

More than 200 medical students, hailing from 30 states across the U.S., descended on Capitol Hill yesterday to participate in the American Medical Association's (AMA) student lobbying day. Their main message was a familiar one: Find a permanent fix for the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

One group of medical students from Michigan met with the staff of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to discuss the 28% cut in Medicare reimbursement due to take effect on March 1.

The cuts will likely not happen: Congress has voted every year for the past decade to push cuts called for by the formula down the road.

But the AMA has taken issue with such short-term solutions and would like the SGR repealed and replaced with a new physician payment method.

The organization has recommended using savings gleaned from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fund an SGR repeal, which is estimated to cost about $300 billion over the next decade. It's an idea backed by more than 100 other medical groups, as well as several Democratic lawmakers.

In addition to reimbursement issues, the medical students advocated for an increase in the number of Medicare-supported residency spots.

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Source: MedPage Today