from last week's inbox:
U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Phil Roe (R-TN) continue to garner bipartisan support to repeal the Medicare physician payment system. Drawing health policy experts from across the ideological spectrum, Schwartz and Roe hosted a briefing today to highlight the broad bipartisan support for a comprehensive fix to the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Since 2003, Congress has taken steps each year to override the cuts required by the flawed SGR formula. Unless Congress acts again before the end of this year, physicians treating Medicare patients will see their reimbursements cut by 29.5 percent beginning on January 1, 2012.
Recently, Schwartz and Roe secured support from more than 115 members of Congress to call on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to repeal SGR and include a comprehensive fix in their proposal to Congress next month.“For years, the cost of this failed policy has been hidden by short-term fixes,” Schwartz said. “There is overwhelming bipartisan support, coupled with tremendous fiscal urgency, to finally enact a long-term SGR fix. We have a choice: continue distorting the picture of our nation’s fiscal status, or restore fiscal discipline and certainty by eliminating the $300 billion debt that has accumulated as a result of the SGR. The super committee should use this historic opportunity to set out a clear path towards comprehensive Medicare payment reform. Our seniors and America’s fiscal health are counting on it.”“To ensure patient access to physician care, we must permanently fix the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula (SGR),” Roe said. “Physicians are currently threatened with a 29.5 percent cut in their payments unless Congress can end these budgetary games. A cut of this magnitude would leave many, if not most, Medicare patients without access to physicians. Fixing the SGR will help bring stability to our medical system.”